Newton girls seek continual improvement

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton senior Hayley Loewen is one of just two seniors on the Railer squad this season.

Last season, the Newton High School girls’ basketball team was young and inexperienced.

This season, the Railers will remain young with just two seniors, but will look to improve as the returnees gain experience.

Tavis Leake II returns for his second season with the Railers. He is assisted by Page Hiebert (varsity assistant), Carley Childs (junior varsity) and Alissa Gasper (freshman).

Newton was 2-19 last season, 2-12 in AV-CTL I play. Newton fell in the first round of Class 5A sub-state play to Emporia.

Returning starters include Olivia Antonowich (5-5, jr., G), Abigail Koontz (5-2, so., G), Hayley Loewen (5-7, sr., F), Camryn Entz (5-6, jr., F) and Alexis Epp (5-6, sr., F).

Antonowich was an All-AV-CTL I honorable mention.

Other returnees include Gracie Hendrickson (5-5, jr., G) and Piper Seidl (5-5, jr., G).

Looking to move up from the JV ranks are Alexia Hernandez (5-6, jr., F) and Natalie Jones (5-7, so., F).

Three freshmen will look to push the upperclassmen — Amaree Henderson (5-10, G), Tatum Suderman (5-6, G) and Mikayla Powell (5-6, G).

“(The) Lady Railers are looking to build on some of the growth made last year,” Leake II said. “Players are encouraged to trust the process as the program is being rebuilt. We plan on playing hard, playing as one and playing smart.”

Leake II called Derby and Maize the top contenders in the league this season. Derby reached state in Class 6A last season. Maize reached state play in Class 5A.

Top non-league competition includes Dodge City, which reached the final four in Class 6A, and McPherson, the runner-up in Class 5A.

Schedule

Dec. 2-3 GWAL-AV-CTL Challenge @ Koch Arena (time, opponent TBA)

Dec. 4 Dodge City (G 5 p.m., B 6:30 p.m.)

Dec. 7 McPherson

Dec. 10 Maize South

Dec. 14 @ Hutchinson

Dec. 17 @ Campus

Jan. 7 @ Valley Center

Jan. 11 @ Salina South

Jan. 14 @ Derby

Jan. 20-22 @ Valley Center Inv. (B TBA)

Jan. 27-29 Newton Invitational (G TBA)

Feb. 1 Maize

Feb. 4 Hutchinson

Feb. 8 Campus

Feb. 11 @ Maize South

Feb. 15 Derby

Feb. 18 Salina South

Feb. 22 @ Salina Central

Feb. 25 @ Maize

March 1-5 Sub-State TBA

March 9-12 State @ White Auditorium, Emporia