Sometime and it may be soon, Hutchinson High’s boys will be a basketball team you don’t want to play.
Hutchinson continued to build midseason momentum with a solid 59-45 Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League basketball victory over rival Newton Tuesday night.
Hot-shooting Trevor Turner scored 15 points and Tanner Higgins added nine points for Hutchinson (3-5, 2-3 AVCTL).
Hutchinson coach Nathan Henry substituted five players at a time, which helped set an aggressive fullcourt and halfcourt defensive tone. The Salthawks forced 20 Newton turnovers and held the Railroaders to 9 of 28 shooting, 32 percent in the final three periods.
“We like to play that style of game where both teams get up and down the court,” said Henry. “The tempo favored us. We played hard and created some turnovers. It was probably our best game of the year against a really good team. Newton led Derby into the second half.”
The Salthawks led 21-18 after one period as both teams shot 50 percent. But Hutchinson’s defense forced nine Newton turnovers and 1 of 6 shooting in the second quarter for a 31-22 halftime lead. Hutchinson made 12 of 31 first-half field goals, but had 11 more attempts.
Supersub Jezel Parra led the bench brigade at the Salthawk Activity Center with eight points off the bench. Henry’s second wave contributed 15 points.
“That’s the best our bench has played in a couple of games,” Henry said. “This was the best intensity and teamwork they have showed. It was the most unselfish we’ve played all year.”
Hutchinson converted 6 of 7 field goals to start the third period to build a 45-30 lead. Newton stayed within range as Grant Walker hit a pair of 3-pointers and assisted on a trio of 3-pointers for teammates Josh Carlgren and Jack Kingsley. The 3-point attack kept the Railroaders within 45-36 after three periods.
But Hutchinson defense reaffirmed its lockdown as Newton missed its first 10 attempts in the fourth period. Colby Turner, Joe Dower and Parra scored baskets and Parra fed Kaden Flores for a 3-pointer for a 55-36 lead.
“We did a better job keeping them trapped on one side of the court rather than letting them reverse the basketball,” Henry said. “We were flying out defensively too much in the first quarter and we stopped gambling.”
Henry felt good about beating Newton (3-5, 2-3 AVCTL), which led league-leader Derby by 11 points before losing 56-46.
Walker led Newton with 12 points and Gunar Drinnen added eight points. Newton made 16 of 42 field goals, including eight 3-pointers. Newton coach Don Cameron said his team must continue to balance the outside scoring.
“We have some set plays for 3-pointers,” Cameron said. “We’re still developing our inside presence. We’ve got to get better inside.”
Cameron said the turnovers were the difference.
“Hutchinson is quick. We talked about it, but we didn’t handle their pressure defense,” said Cameron. “Sometimes, we play up and down. We got bothered by their physical play. We’ve got to learn how to handle it better.”
Newton tried to pressure the Salthawks, but were beaten several times on fast breaks.
“We didn’t get matched up on our press and we lost guys. That’s how they scored some easy baskets,” Cameron said. “We did not get matched up because we were not communicating.”
Hutchinson plays Salina South at home Friday. Newton is idle until they play in the Dodge City Tournament of Champions next week.