GRINNELL — There was no doubt Newton’s girls played “tight” from the opening tip of Friday’s Little Hawkeye Conference game against host Grinnell. The Tigers are ranked 14th in Class 4A.
Grinnell pressured the Cardinals up and down the court. The Cardinals committed 19 turnovers in the game in which they fell behind 19-2 by the end of the first period.
Newton lost 58-29 to Grinnell. It was their third straight game taking on a Class 4A ranked opponent — all in LHC play.
“We played extremely tight the entire game and I’m not sure why. We all were disappointed in the way we played — players and coaches alike,” Newton head coach Brandon Sharp said.
“We’re still making poor decisions on the court. The players are frustrated and we as coaches are frustrated with it.”
The Cardinals dropped their fourth game in a row and are 2-9 overall. With the loss to the Tigers Friday, they are 2-3 in Little Hawkeye Conference play. The Tigers are 9-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to work in practice Monday and turn things around. We still have a half of a season to play and we want to get back to playing our style of basketball,” Sharp said. “We want to get back on the right path Tuesday at home.”
Newton hosts Oskaloosa Tuesday.
The Cardinals weren’t able to dig out of that 19-2 hole. They did outscore the Tigers 11-10 in the second period, trailing 29-13 at halftime. Grinnell held a 16-11 scoring edge in the third quarter and finished the game on a 13-5 run.
Newton shot just 22 percent, 8-of-36, from the field. The Cardinals knocked down 13-of-22 free throws. They also held a 36-18 edge in rebounding.
Sydney Jenkins led the Cardinals with nine points. Sarah Kalkhoff hit 6-of-10 free throws for her six points, plus controlled eight rebounds. Michaela Jacobsen had six rebounds and two assists.
Alex Hutchinson scored six points for Newton. Shelby Gray and Jacobsen each had four points.
Grinnell’s Deja Jackson poured in 27 points. The Tigers shot 47 percent, 21-of-44, from the field.