Newton High’s girls showcased its talent while rolling past Hutchinson High 56-31 Tuesday in an Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League basketball game.
Newton’s Abbie Lehman dominated the paint with 21 points and a half dozen blocked shots. The 6-2 Lehman, a Wichita State volleyball signee, took advantage inside at both ends of the court.
“The thing I like the best is blocking shots,” said Lehman, who blocked most of her shots without jumping.
The Railroaders roared to a 20-1 lead behind effective fullcourt defense that forced several first-quarter Hutchinson turnovers. Jordan Downing scored Hutchinson’s first basket.
“We’ve been working a lot on our press, trying to get the other team sped up,” Lehman said. “Our guards did a good job getting the ball inside. We passed the ball really well.”
Newton point guard Jacque Anderson sparked effective passing that saw Taylor Stahly and Sarah Bartel also contribute with timely assists.
“Jacque gets us in our offense and handles the ball,” said Newton coach Randy Jordan. “She is doing a terrific job handling that role.”
Newton (7-1, 3-1 AVCTL) backed up Lehman with good offensive balance. Kelsi Langley scored 13 points and Hannah Carlgren scored 12 first-half points. The Railroaders executed solidly at the offensive end, in addition to scores off turnovers and second-chances.
“That’s the best game our team has ever played in Hutchinson,” said Jordan. “We were fundamentally sound and ran our plays. We took advantage of what was there, especially inside.”
Jordan felt Newton’s fullcourt pressure set the tone from the outset.
“Our three-quarter 2-2-1 press got them back on their heels,” Jordan said. “In the past, if you let them get momentum, it can be a hard place to play. But we controlled the game from the outset. They all played well.”
Hutchinson (1-7, 1-4 AVCTL) failed to show the intensity that head coach Tom Clark wanted. Clark said the Salthawks failed to battle for rebounds and elected to sit back and didn’t challenge the Railroaders. He took responsibility for his team not playing harder.
“I’m totally disgusted. We were kind of walking around out there. We’ve got to try harder than that,” Clark said. “Our guards were our leading rebounders. We played soft inside. We played like we’d break someone if we touched somebody. We didn’t react to the ball all night long.”
The Salthawks’ Jordan Downing scored eight points and Sarah Rothe chipped in six points. Downing played fearlessly, one time floating a shot over Lehman after she blocked a shot. Supersub Laura Sellers gave the Salthawks a spark with two steals and a score in transition.
Hutchinson played more competitively in the second half with a 20-20 score in the second half.
“We get after people at practice every day. We finally picked it up at the end,” Clark said. “I want a team that will scratch for the basketball. We had a player, Savannah Engel, who had not played a minute all year, but she goes in and starts playing with people under the basket.”
Hutchinson plays Salina South at home Friday and Newton plays at Valley Center Jan. 15.