It took a little bit of physicality for the Derby Panther girls to beat the Newton Railers Friday in AV-CTL I play at Ravenscroft Gym.
Tor’E Alford had to chuck Newton’s Kalli Anderson from the 3-point circle to the free throw line to get off a buzzer-beating shot and hand Derby a 35-32 win.
Newton overcame a seven-point deficit in the second half, tying the game on a Jada Berry jumper with 1:12 remaining. Derby held the ball for the last shot, avoiding several potential five-second calls.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come from playing them down there (a 51-23 Derby win) until tonight,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “I thought we made huge strides from Tuesday night to tonight. We have a lot to feel positive about. I didn’t think they would run the clock down. I knew we had fouls to give, but I didn’t think they would run the clock down. I thought we had a good chance to turn them over. When it got down to nine seconds, I was screaming, but it was so loud, I don’t think they heard me. I should have told them in the time out.”
Alford and 6-foot-6 Kennedy Brown each finished the game with 12 points. Brown blocked four shots. Brown scored 10 points in the first half. Alford scored all her points in the second half.
“Brown is just so hard to guard,” Jordan said. “We ran them off the three tonight. We played special on defense. We did a good job of keeping Brown from just posting up.”
DesiRay Kernal led Newton with nine points. Aubrie Nichols added eight off the bench in one of her highest scoring efforts of her career.
“We knew Brown would just sit back, so we brought Aubrie in,” Jordan said. “She’s such a good spot-up shooter and she did her job tonight. It forced Kennedy to guard. If she doesn’t, then Aubrie is wide open. That was the role for her and she played her roll.”
Newton held Derby to two points for the first 7:42 of the game. A Brown layup with 18 seconds left in the period cut the Railer lead to one, 5-4. Both teams were two of 12 shooting in the period.
Brown hit a layup to open the second quarter scoring and put Derby in the lead. After a six more lead changes, Aubrie Nichols hit a shot just before the buzzer to put Newton up 13-12 at the half.
After about a two-minute lull, Derby opened the second half with a pair of Aliyah free throws, an Aliyah trey and a Tor’E Alford trey off a turnover, all in under a minute. Newton had four turnovers in the first four minutes of the second half. A DesiRay Kernal three-point play with 3:56 left in the period broke the run. A pair of Bartel buckets got Newton back to within three. Kyndal Bacon hit a pair of free throws with .9 seconds in the period to keep Newton within three, 27-24.
After staying close most of the fourth quarter, Berry hit an eight foot jumper with 1:12 in regulation to tie the game.
Newton plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hutchinson. The Salt Hawks fell to Maize 51-29, dropping to 9-7, 4-5 in league play. Newton beat Hutchinson 56-34 in the first meeting, handing the Salt Hawks their first loss of the season.
“We spent a lot of emotion tonight,” Jordan said. “I told the girls to enjoy homecoming. Although we lost, there were a lot of positives tonight. Like Derby, they have a lot of height. We also have to control their dribble drive.”
DERBY (16-1, 10-0 AV-CTL I) — Niles 0 0-0 1, 0; Aly.Myers 1 (1) 2-2 0, 7; Schomp 0 0-0 1, 0; Johnson 0 0-0 0, 0; Alford 1 (3) 1-2 2, 12; He.Mills 1 0-0 0, 2; Ho.Mills 1 0-0 1, 2; Brown 5 2-3 4, 12; TOTALS 9 (4) 5-7 9, 35.
NEWTON (10-6, 4-4 AV-CTL I) — T.Antonowich 0 0-0 0, 0; Anderson 1 0-0 0, 2; Bartel 0 0-0 0, 0; Nichols 4 0-0 0, 8; Bacon 1 2-2 3, 4; Kernal 3 3-3 2, 9; Berry 3 1-2 4, 7; Brewer 1 0-0 0, 2; TOTALS 13 6-7 9, 32.