In 2016-17, the Salina Central girls basketball team won some nail-biting contests versus Newton.
That trend continued Tuesday.
Senior Myah Ward opened the tilt with three triples, junior Selah Merkle recorded a huge stick in the third and the 2-3 zone stymied the Newton Railers, allowing the Lady Mustangs to claim a 37-32 victory. Central (11-3, 4-2 AVCTL-I) has won nine of its last 10 matches.
Ward, a Bethany College commit, started the game off right with those treys, giving Central a 9-2 advantage. Newton (9-4, 3-3) didn’t get its first field goal until the 3:02 mark in the first, but once it happened, the Railers went ahead 10-9 in the early seconds of the second period.
The defensive struggle bled into the second frame with both teams combining for 18 points, allowing SC to go into the locker room with a 17-16 cushion.
After a three by Central sophomore Kadyn Cobb in the third, Newton went on a 7-0 run to plunge ahead, 23-20, which included Newton’s only three of the night by senior Jada Berry. Central turned to Merkle, nailing a bucket while being fouled to make it 29-25 Central with 1:15 remaining.
That ended up being the separation the Lady Mustangs needed as they limited the Railers to just seven points in the final period. Central made just one shot in the final period, but it was a monster stick-back by junior Holly Sanderson to widen the gap to six points.
Senior Elisa Backes paced Central with 10 points. The Salina Ortho Player of the Game was Merkle, who finished with seven points after rolling her ankle in the third.
Salina Central stays at home Friday with a showdown with Hutchinson.
NEWTON 67, SALINA CENTRAL 54
Every time the Mustangs stormed back, the Railers had every answer.
Central started the game in a 7-0 hole before senior Sam Shaffer’s trey three minutes into the game. That was the only SC punch in the opening quarter as Central fell behind 16-6.
Shaffer combined with senior Ethan Speer on three triples, sparking a comeback that trimmed the deficit to 22-20. Newton sophomore sensation buried a three to go with Alex Krogmeier’s three-ball to make it a six-point cushion, but Central junior David Grammar nailed a jumper after an offensive rebound to make it a 30-26 ballgame at the half.
Much like the first quarter, Newton sprinted out to a 39-29 advantage in the third. Central junior Brogen Richardson caught fire, sinking three triples to make it a 45-44 deficit, but Berry calmly knocked down a heavily-guarded trey with two seconds left, giving Newton a 48-44 cushion.
The Railers (6-8, 4-2) put the game away when Krogmeier connected on two jumpers during a 7-0 spurt. Newton junior Damarius Peterson helped the sophomore by connecting on all eight of his free throw attempts, sealing game-high honors with 21 points, 19 coming in the second half. Berry finished with 19.
Central (10-4, 3-3) was led by junior Harper Williams with 14 points. Richardson settled for 10 points, all in the third to earn the Salina Ortho Player of the Game.