GODDARD — The Newton High School girls’ basketball team overcame a poor start to down Goddard Eisenhower 48-40 Friday in non-league play in Goddard.
The Railers trailed by 12 early in the second half, but came back to tie. Newton held the 0-2 Tigers to four points in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t really come out with a lot of energy early,” Newton coach Justin Schroeder said. “We talked in the locker room at the half about how we were going to respond. Keila Gillispie had a steal that led to a breakaway, and that was the kind of play we needed to spark us. We haven’t spent a lot of time against the zone. The biggest thing is for us to be patient. We didn’t hit a lot of shots in the first half. We came out in the second half with more energy. We started to understand what they were trying to do on defense and that opened things up.”
DesiRay Kernal led Newton with 28 points, hitting nine of 12 free throws. She scored all of Newton’s points in the fourth quarter. She also had 13 rebounds.
“We played with a lot more intensity and a lot more energy,” Kernal said. “In the first half, we looked like we just got off the bus. We had to pick it up. Kyla Franchers was hitting shots, so we had to stop her. Then Kennedy Nicholson was hitting, so we had to stop her. We needed to get a bucket and then get back on defense to get a stop. We didn’t have time to work on our zone offense. We’ll get back to work, because we’ll see the same thing against Salina South. We just have put this one aside and get ready for Tuesday.”
“Des did a great job on the glass,” Schneider said. “Offensively, she took over the game. She sparked the offensive intensity.”
Nicholson led Eisenhower with 13 points. Brittany Gosch added 10 points.
Newton started the game one of six from the field, while Eisenhower was three for five to take a 7-3 lead. Newton finished the quarter with six turnovers, trailing 13-7.
Newton trailed by as many as 12 in the second quarter. Treys by Kernal and Megan Bartel, followed by a Jenisa Cornejo runner, put the Railers within four with three minutes left in the half. Newton added five more points to the run, taking the lead on a Cornejo layup. One of two Nicholson free throws with 1:03 left in the half tied the game 24-24.
Newton opened the third quarter with a Kernal layup and a Bartel trey, missing chances to extend the lead. Eisenhower was able to come back to tie, 34-34, with 4:06 left in the period. Newton led 38-36 at the end of the period.
Kernal hit the first bucket of the fourth quarter, a putback with 5:55 in regulation. Eisenhower missed its first five shots of the period, while Newton was one of five. Kernal followed with two free throws with 4:04 to play. Gosch broke the Railer run with a layup with 3:45 in regulation. Kernal answered with four more free throws. Payton Ryan broke the run with a layup with 1:31 to get the Tigers back within six. Kernal hit two of four free throws to get Newton back out by eight.
Newton plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Salina South, which is 0-3 after a 54-42 loss to Buhler.
“We’ll take this game as a lesson how to play on the road and go on,” Schneider said. “We only have one day of practice between this game and South. We’ll take that time to get refocused and get ready.”
NEWTON (2-0) — Kei.Gillispie 0 0-0 0, 0; Anderson 0 1-2 3, 1; Bartel 0 (3) 0-0 0, 9; Antonowich 0 1-2 2, 1; Zenner 0 (1) 0-0 0, 3; Kernal 8 (1) 9-12 4, 28; Slechta 0 0-0 0, 0; M.Seirer 1 0-0 0, 2; TOTALS 13 (5) 11-16 9, 48.
GODDARD EISENHOWER (0-2) — Brungardt 0 0-0 0, 0; Graham 0 (1) 0-0 3, 3; Ryan 2 0-0 4, 4; Denning 1 0-0 3, 2; Frenchers 2 (1) 1-2 1, 8; Nicholson 3 (2) 1-2 3, 13; Gosch 5 0-0 4, 10; Chaney-Carter 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 13 (4) 2-4 18, 40.