PELLA — In the first meeting between the schools on Dec. 14, the Newton girls basketball team held Pella Christian to its season-low in points.
However, the Eagles had other plans for the rematch Tuesday night.
Pella Christian senior Paige Engbers dropped 25 points as the Eagles jumped out to a big lead early and eventually held on for a 65-38 over the Cards (4-10, 1-6 Little Hawkeye Conference), who lost their third game in a row.
"We definitely dug ourselves a hole once again in the first quarter," Newton coach Brandon Sharp said. "We had our game plan set, and to be honest it was the exact same on as the first game, but the difference was how we executed."
Engbers opened the game with a 3-pointer, but Newton baskets from seniors Anna Latcham and Kristin Samson kept pace early. A 12-0 Pella Christian run then set the tone for the rest of the half and game, as Engbers drained two more threes and Newton only managed a three by senior Michelle Marquis to cut the deficit to 24-7 after one.
"She's the best shooter in the conference hands down," Sharp said of Engbers. "She can just stay in there and catch and shoot, and that's what we let her do tonight. We wanted to drive her off the three-point line and make her put the ball on the ground."
“We’re usually pretty consistent in playing hard in the second quarter,” Sharp said. “We got some stuff done, but it comes down to the first and digging ourselves such a big hole that it’s hard to gather yourself and regroup. It’s still very doable, it’s just going to take a little bit more effort.”
Newton had its strongest run of the game at the beginning of the second quarter as seniors Katelyn Camp, Kaylie Rhoads and Latcham each contributed points to bring the score as close as 28-13. However, the Eagles closed the half on a 9-0 run and took a 37-19 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was scoreless until about three minutes in as Newton forced multiple turnovers, but couldn’t convert them into points on the other end. The Cards got contributions off the bench by sophomores Michaela Jacobsen and Shelby Gray, but two more treys from Engbers, including one at the buzzer, kept the Eagles ahead comfortably.
Newton ended the night on a somewhat positive note, tying the Eagles 11-11 in the fourth quarter. Samson opened the quarter with a three and Rhoads, Jacobsen and Marquis also got in on the act to balance things out a bit.
“I commended the girls in the second half that being down whatever we were at halftime, we saw five players on the floor trusting the coaches and executing the game plan,” Sharp said. “We had that no matter who the five girls were on the floor, so that was a very positive note.”
Engbers finished with 25 points and was joined in double figures by two of her teammates. Rhoads led the Cards with nine points, while Samson finished with eight and Latcham had six.
Newton will stay on the road for its next test, a Friday game at Knoxville.
Pella Christian 65, Newton 38
N — 7 12 18 11 — 38
P — 24 13 17 11 — 65
N — Rhoads 9, Samson 8, Latcham 6, Jacobsen 3, Camp 2, Gray 2, Stock 2, Kalkhoff 1
P — Engbers 25, Howerzyl 13, Uitermarkt 12, Jungling 8, Vander Hart 3, Beltman 2