Railer boys look to reverse fortunes

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton senior Dylan Petz is one of four returning starters for the Railers.

The Newton High School boys’ basketball team faced a lot of challenges last season, but with four returning starters back, look to reverse their fortunes this season.

Andy Preston returns for his fifth season as the Railer head coach. He is 27-56 with the Railers and in his career.

Newton was 2-19 last season, 0-12 in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play. Newton fell in the first round of Class 5A sub-state play against Topeka West 71-60.

“After a tough 20-21 COVID basketball season, no one is more excited for a new season than the Newton Railer boys’ basketball program,” Preston said. “Not only were the Railer boys’ basketball team quarentined multiple times, but ended up playing arguably the toughest schedule in the state. That schedule included the likes of 9 state tournament participants, six final-four teams — which five of those teams end up in the state championship game — and two opponents that won state titles. After a season of

adversity and challenges the Railer boys look to build on their success in late February where they pushed several state title contending programs to the wire including 5A state runner-up Topeka West in the first round of sub-state.”

Four starters return for the Railers — Dylan Petz (6-0, sr., G, 11.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.3 apg), Camden Carr (5-10, jr., G, 6.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.5 spg), Tanner Dorrell (6-1, sr., G, 6.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.4 apg) and Joe Slechta (6-3, sr., F, 3.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.9 spg).

Petz was an All-AV-CTL I selection last season. Carr was injured last season. Dorrell led the team in scoring in five games last season. Slechta was among the top rebounders in the league last season.

Other contenders for varsity play include Jayden Woods (6-2, jr., C), Caleb Anderson (5-10, sr., G), Colby Gomez (6-1, so., G), Justin Zerger (6-2, so., F), Ashton Castro (6-4, jr., F),  Diontay Kernal (6-1, fr., G), Nick Ruth (6-5, so., C) and Ezra Entz (5-10, jr., G).

“This year’s challenges will include replacing graduates Jaxon Brackeen (second team all AV-CTL I), Elijah Edwards and Max Ruth,” Preston said. “Dylan Petz, Tanner Dorrell and Cam Carr will carry the load offensively this year. Carr, who missed the second half of last year due to a knee injury is back to fill the point guard duties. Dylan Petz, an All-AV-CTL Division I player, returns at the shooting guard spot and Tanner Dorrell who shined late in February fills out the backcourt. Joe Slechta returns for his senior campaign to lead the front court as one of the top returning rebounders in AV-CTL Division I. Questions surround the other front court position since the departure of Owen Mills (moved out of town) leaves opportunities for Jayden Woods, Ashton Castro and Nick Ruth to fill the big man spot.”

Schedule

Dec. 2  GWAL-AV-CTL Challenge @ Koch Arena (Wichita North 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