Brackeen scores 35, but Railers still short against Maize

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton senior Jaxon Brackeen scored 35 points in a 65-49 loss to Maize Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym.
Newton junior Dylan Petz handles the ball during play Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym.
Newton junior Joe Slechta guards Maize junior Madison Lambert during play Saturday.
Newton junior Owen Mills gets a rebound during play Saturday against Maize. Newton hosts Salina Central Tuesday.

The Newton High School boys’ basketball team put a scare into Maize for about a half, but couldn’t sustain the offensive effort for a full 32 minutes in a 65-49 loss Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym.

Newton senior Jaxon Brackeen scored 35 points to lead all scorers, but only four other players were able to score.

“We fought pretty hard,” Brackeen said. “Our defense was outstanding. My teammates got me open. I just did the rest. We played really well in the first half. We were up 31-30 at the half. That was probably the best half we’ve played all year. We just need to keep working day-by-day to put all the pieces together.”

“I thought our guys gave an incredible effort,” Newton coach Andy Preston said. “We talked about being more active, being aggressive and being the tougher team. We definitely were. In the fourth quarter, we lost the ability to close out and box out. We had a lot of tired bodies. That’s what we wanted to be at the end of the game — give ourselves a chance. That was a phenomenal performance by Jaxon Brackeen. That’s one of the best personal performances since I’ve been here. They were throwing three guys at him by the end of the game.”

Maize, 16-2, was led by Jacob Hanna with 17 points, Avery Johnson with 15 points and Kyle Grill with 11 points.

Both teams came out with guns blazing in the first quarter. Maize hit five of its first six shots while Newton was four of five. Maize led 21-18 at the end of the quarter.

Newton opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run. A Brackeen layup in the final minute of the first half put Newton up 31-30.

Maize opened the third quarter on a 9-1 run. Brackeen hit a trey at the buzzer to get Newton back within 10, 47-37.

Newton matched Maize’s scoring early in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles were able to pull out by as many as 16.

Newton is 1-17 and hosts Salina Central at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“We have two more games,” Preston said. “Our record’s not looking too good, but we’re building momentum towards sub-state. We have two really good teams this week. They are both really physical. … (Central) will try to bully us on the boards and grind us down.”

MAIZE (16-2, 18-2 AV-CTL I) — Howard 1 (2) 0-0 2, 8; Grill 1 (3) 0-0 1, 11; Johnson 3 (1) 6-9 1, 15; Hanna 3 (3) 2-4 1, 17; Bing 1 (2) 0-0 2, 8; Belcher 1 0-0 0, 2; Gustafson 2 0-0 3, 4; TOTALS 12 (11) 8-13 10, 65.

NEWTON (1-17, 0-11 AV-CTL I) — Ruth 0 0-0 3, 0; Brackeen 7 (5) 6-7 2, 35; Petz 1 0-0 0, 2; Dorrell 0 0-0 0, 0; Slechta 1 2-2 3, 4; Woods 0 0-0 0, 0; Mills 1 (1) 0-0 3, 5; Edwards 0 (1) 0-0 3, 3; TOTALS 10 (7) 8-9 14, 49.

Maize;21;9;17;18;—;65

Newton;18;13;6;12;—;49

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com