Newton senior Kaylie Rhoads has seen plenty of games in her time with the girls basketball team, but this was one she didn't want to slip away.
After a sluggish start on Tuesday night, Rhoads and the Cardinals (6-10, 2-6 Little Hawkeye Conference) rallied in the second half and eventually put Carlisle away 49-44 to deny the Wildcats the upset and their first victory of the season.
"We're happy to get a W whenever we can, and with the way we started the game, we could've easily let it get away from us," Newton coach Brandon Sharp said. "It was nice to see the perseverance and stubbornness in the girls for them not to give up."
Carlisle didn't look like a winless team, especially in the opening minutes of the game. Newton quickly found itself in an 11-0 hole before a basket by sophomore Sarah Kalkhoff broke the spell at the 2:58 mark. A few more buckets from sophomore Michaela Jacobsen brought the Cards back to life, but they still trailed 16-8 after one.
"We started slow, and I don't what was on our minds," Rhoads said. "It kicked in for me when the score was 11-0 and I realized that wasn't us. We should be playing better than this. We all just kind of got pumped up."
Newton made its move in the second and trailed just 21-20 at halftime, but the problems with offensive rebounds continued. Carlisle finished with 15 offensive boards, which was the most the Cards have given up all year. When that problem was solved, Sharp turned to a full-court press that eventually yielded 13 turnovers and created new scoring chances.
“We threw a bunch of looks at them with the halfcourt set, but what it really came down to was just boxing out,” Sharp said. “The adjustment with the presses definitely gave us an edge to start out with.”
Rhoads made her biggest statement of the night at the beginning of the third quarter. After scoring the half’s first five points, she eventually went on a personal 10-4 run and recorded a steal that led to a layup by senior Anna Latcham on the other end. Carlisle eventually regained its composure, but Newton took a 37-35 lead into the fourth.
“It was the same thing as the first quarter, I just wasn’t going to let us lose that lead we had,” Rhoads said. “I just wanted to go after it, play my heart out and get my teammates playing with me.”
Although very few fouls were called in the first half, the fourth quarter was a completely different story. Both teams were in the bonus with around five minutes left and a combined 25 free throw attempts were taken in the quarter, frustrating players and coaches alike.
After Carlisle had taken a 41-39 lead, Rhoads managed another big stretch, scoring six-straight points and putting Newton up for good. Jacobsen and Kalkhoff then effectively ended the game at the free-throw line to seal the win.
“I called a timeout with about five minutes left and asked them why they were panicking,” Sharp said. “In the end of the game, we took care of business with free throws and finally capitalized at the line.”
Rhoads led all scorers with 21 points, while Jacobsen joined her in double figures. The Cards will be at Grinnell on Friday and will host Boone Saturday in a makeup for Monday’s postponed game.
Newton 49, Carlisle 44
C — 16 5 14 9 — 44
N — 8 12 17 12 — 49
C — Curry 12, Langren 11, Wachal 9, Keeney 8, Fitzgerald 4
N — Rhoads 21, Jacobsen 14, Kalkoff 3, Samson 3, Camp 2, Gray 2, Latcham 2, Stock 2