The Newton boys basketball team’s 53-52 season-opening victory over Boone was an exciting one, but it was also an early indication of how the team would play in the early part of this season.
After that victory and a 55-50 road win over ADM, the Cardinals (2-4, 0-2 Little Hawkeye Conference) have since dropped four in a row and have followed a similar pattern in nearly every game of that stretch.
The toughest loss of the season was a 64-30 Little Hawkeye Conference opener at Norwalk Dec. 7. The Warriors caught fire early and led 21-0 after the first quarter, but stayed hot throughout the game and didn’t really allow the Cardinals a shot to start a comeback.
Each of the next three games were marked with slow starts in the first quarter, a strong rally in the second and the other team pulling away in the second half. Newton trailed by four at halftime against both Marshaltown on Dec. 10 and Pella Christian on Dec. 14, but fell victim to runs in the third quarter to take double-digit losses in each game.
One consistency the team has shown throughout the season is change. Head coach Nick Wilkins has trotted out multiple starting lineups over the past few games in an effort to give the team as many looks as possible, and the results have been interesting. At least 10 to 11 Cardinals have seen the floor in each game, with the season-high of 13 playing in the loss to Norwalk.
Sophomore Tyler Wood, who provided the game-winning layup against Boone, is leading the Cardinals in scoring with 10.5 points per game. Senior Jesse Bates is next with 6.4 in a mixture of starting and relief roles, while senior Collin Reynolds comes in at 5.2 per game. Junior Daquan Allen has a narrow lead for top rebounder with 3.8 per game, just ahead of Reynolds (3.7) and Bates (3.6).
Newton had games against Bondurant-Farrar and Knoxville snowed out on Dec. 20 and 21, respectively, and those games have been rescheduled for Jan. 17 and Feb. 7.