Last night, the visiting Grinnell girls basketball team scored just two more points than committed fouls in the first quarter of play. The Tigers’ nine points hardly outpaced the seven first-quarter penalities in a game that was physical from the start.
It took just one possession by the Newton girls (3-6, 0-3) for Grinnell (3-6, 1-3) to institute a tough, full-court press that upped the pace of the game considerably — much to Newton coach Brandon Sharp’s liking.
“We want to play up and down the court, so that was great for us,” he said. “We got some opportunities for fast breaks and layups.”
With the second quarter came the double-bonus for Newton, who failed to capitalize on a handful of free throw opportunities. That, paired with the strong shooting of Grinnell’s Taegan James, helped lift the Tigers to a 26-18 halftime lead.
Despite the offensive effort from senior Kaylie Rhoads, who finished the game with 14 points, the Tigers pulled away in the second half, downing the Cards 62-45.
Senior Michelle Marquis contributed eight for Newton, while sophomores Michaela Jacobsen and Sarah Kalkhoff followed with six points each. Senior Kristin Samson added five and freshman Anna Latcham drained four for the Cardinals.
“Tonight was a nice start after coming out so flat against Ballard on Saturday, but we needed to keep that intensity and play smarter on defense,” Sharp said.
While Newton’s scoring may have fallen short, the Cards hit the boards harder than the Tigers, out-rebounding them 41-37 and adding to Newton’s dominance of the Little Hawkeye Conference off the glass, where they average 37.6 rebounds per game.
While a loss, especially against an in-conference rival, never feels good, Sharp explained that last night’s match will only serve to make the Newton girls squad better in the long run.
“As hard as this is to take, we’re hoping it’s a blessing in disguise,” Sharp said. “We had some girls tearing up in the locker room because they wanted it more than anything. It’s hard to swallow, but we move on and get better from it, always.”
The Newton girls head to Osklaloosa on Friday to take on the conference-leading Indians (9-2, 3-1) at 6:15 p.m.
Grinnell 62, Newton 45
G — 9 17 24 12 — 62
N — 9 9 13 14 — 45
Newton individual scorers
Rhoads 14, Marquis 8, Jacobsen 6, Kalkhoff 6, Samson 5, Latcham 4, Gray 2