Salina South girls basketball coach Ryan Stuart said it best on the radio postgame show.
“We just needed to win.”
The Cougars did exactly that.
Sophomore Kalysa Hamel led three Cougars in double figures with 11 points, South’s defense forced 20 turnovers, and the Cougars claimed their first win of the season, derailing the Newton Railers, 51-39, Tuesday night at Newton High School. South improved to 1-6 on the season, 1-4 in AVCTL-I action. Newton dipped to 0-6.
While South’s offense produced its most points on the campaign, it was the defense that set the tone. Newton didn’t log its first field goal until the 1:40 mark. Salina South finished the first quarter on top, 10-5.
Hamel provided a much-needed spark in the second, connecting on two threes to push the margin out to double digits. Ultimately, South outscored Newton 14-5, building a 24-10 halftime advantage in the process.
Newton heated up in the third period, putting 10 points on the board. However, the Cougars had 16, allowing South to take a 40-20 cushion into the fourth.
Hamel’s 11 was a career-best. Senior Lizzy Franco poured in a career-high 10 points. Junior Sydney Peterson chipped in a season-high 10. Junior Kylie Arnold scored seven points with a handful of steals and rebounds.
Senior Lexi Valle-Ponds paced Newton with a game-high 15 points. Two other Railers scored 10 points in Olivia Antonowich and Marah Zenner.
Salina South heads to Campus Friday. The boys basketball team is still on the mend. Tipoff Friday is slated for 7:30 pm on Y93.7.