NEWTON — It was not the Senior Night or final night of Little Hawkeye Conference basketball play Newton’s Cardinals had planned.
Little Hawkeye Conference rival Pella came to NHS Friday night and spoiled things a bit for the Cardinal girls and boys. The Lady Dutch outlasted the Cardinal girls, 54-46, and the Little Dutch out shot the Cardinal boys to post an 86-60 victory.
With the loss, the Cardinal girls finished at 5-9 in Little Hawkeye Conference play for sixth place while Pella claimed second, 11-3. The Cardinals are 5-16 overall and the Lady Dutch are 15-6.
The Cardinal girls get another crack a the Lady Dutch Wednesday. The teams open Class 4A Region 5 play at Pella. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
“We’re embracing the underdog role,” Cardinal girls’ head coach Brandon Sharp said. “Not many people out of our little circle expect us to win, but we do. There’s no pressure on us. We’re going to go play our game and see what happens.”
Newton’s boys ended the LHC run at 8-6 for fourth place. They have two non-conference games this week. The Cardinal boys go into tonight’s final home game against Winterset at 9-10. They travel to Carlisle Thursday.
On Senior Night, the Cardinal girls had a strong start against Pella. On back-to-back 3-pointers from Shelby Gray and Sydney Jenkins, the Cardinals led 15-6 with 1:21 left. Jessica Reynolds came off the bench to hit a putback as Newton was up 17-8 at the end of the period.
Things switched around as the second quarter began. Mackenzie Gustafson led the Lady Dutch on a 9-0 run started with a 3-pointer from Katie Vander Molen.
Baskets by Reynolds and Michaela Jacobsen broke the 17-17 tie, giving the Cardinals the lead again. The Cardinals fought off the Lady Dutch and led 24-23 at halftime.
Jacobsen hit a 3-pointer with 7:27 left followed by a basket by Jenkins to push Newton back to a four-point lead, 29-25. Pella tied game up at 29-29. It was tied two more times until Gustafson hit four free throws in a six-second span to start a run for the Lady Dutch.
“They took over right then and we kept coming at them but weren’t able to catch them,” Sharp said. “We played better against them tonight than earlier in the season. Plus after Tuesday night, we wanted to come out and play well. We did that.”
Two free throws and a fastbreak basket by the Cardinals’ lone senior, Lizzie Stock, Newton was within four, 47-43, at the 5:08 mark. Hannah Rhoads hit a free throw to get it to three points. The Cardinals failed to score in the next four minutes while Pella added seven points.
Jacobsen led the Cardinals with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Gray poured in 10 points and grabbed six rebounds. Sarah Kalkhoff had six rebounds while Rhoads had five rebounds and five assists.
Gustafson scored 20 points for Pella. Vander Molen had 13 points. The Lady Dutch sank 14-of-25 free throw attempts.
“I was pleased with the way we played tonight. We’re going to miss Lizzie. I’m so proud of how she’s grown as a player from missing a freshman season because she was the only freshman out to being a very valuable leader for this team,” Sharp said.
Stock scored six points and made two assists in her final home game for Newton.
NEWTON’S BOY never found a flow to their game Friday against the Little Dutch. They couldn’t hit the shot that they typically hit while Pella was “knocking down” shots.
“No, we didn’t get enough defensive stops. You can’t give up 80 points and expect to win. Our goal in the second half was to keep them under 70. We didn’t do that,” Newton boys’ head coach Nick Wilkins said.
“We played the percentages tonight. Jordan Pingel comes out and this a couple of threes off the bat. Their 27-percent 3-point shooter hits tonight and our 45-percent 3-point shooters missed,” Wilkins said. “We’re going to play the percentages every time we play.”
Newton never led in the game. The Cardinals fell behind 11-6. Nick Easley scored on a fastbreak and Daquan Allen connected for Newton to close the gap to one. Pingel drilled his second 3-pointer of the quarter to start another run for the Little Dutch.
Pingel finished with 24 points for Pella but it was Isaac Naaktgeboren, who was another big thorn in Newton’s side. Naaktgeboren dropped 31 points on the Cardinals, hitting three 3-pointers and going 6-of-9 at the free throw line. The two Pella players pushed their team back out to a 23-10 lead with 1:49 mark of the second quarter.
The Cardinal boys trailed 25-14 at halftime. Chandler Sturtz had two baskets and Tyler Wood hit a free throw to make it 27-19 two minutes into the second half. A 3-pointer by Wood with 4:20 left in the third quarter made it 29-22.
That was as close as the Cardinals got. Pella extended its lead back out, going into the fourth quarter up 40-29. The Little Dutch outscored the Cardinals 27-13 in the final eight minutes.
Newton was 5-of-20 from three-point range and hit 21-of-50 from the field overall. Pella was 30-of-69 from the field, including hitting eight 3-pointers. The Little Dutch cashed in 18-of 26 free throw attempts while the Cardinals were 13-of 21 at the line.
“Our kids are fine. It was one of those nights. We’ll take the weekend to relax and come back to work to get two wins this week and go after the playoffs,” Wilkins said.
Sturtz, one of four seniors on the NHS boys’ team, led the way with 21 points and two steals. Wood added 14 points and Easley had 12 points. Easley dished out five assists and made three steals.
Allen, another senior, had six points and four rebounds. Senior Nick Glotfelty scored two points and senior Ryan Thompson came off the bench.
Newton — Jenkins 2/1-1-1-8, Stock 2-2-4-6, Jordan 0-0-1-0, Rhoads 0-1-3-1, Gray 3/1-1-2-10, Jacobsen 2/2-2-2-12, Reynolds 4-1-1-9, Kalkhoff 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 13/4-8-16-46.
Pella — Sunderman 2-0-3-4, Buchhelt 0-0-2-0, Gustafson 3/2-8-2-20, Vander Molen 3/2-1-1-13, Holterhuase 2-1-1-7, Groenendyk 0-0-1-0, Borgerding 2-2-4-6, Terpstra 2-0-3-4. TOTALS: 14/4-14-17-54.
Newton — Sturtz 5/2-5-4-21, Shores 0-0-1-0, Wood 1/3-3-2-14, Allen 3-0-4-6, Easley 4-4-4-12, Travis 0-0-3-0, Banfield 1-0-3-2, Gholson 1-1-0-3, Glotfelty 1-0-0-2, Thompson 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 16/5-13-22-60.
Pella — Pingel 6/2-6-1-24, Carey 0-1-1-1, Naaktgeboren 8/3-6-4-31, Johnson 0/1-2-2-25, Bortscheller 0-0-3-0, Clayberg 3-2-2-8, Konfrst 0/1-0-0-3, Brandt 0/1-0-0-3, Vande Lune 0-0-1-0 Jansen 2-0-0-4, Van Wyk 3-1-1-7. TOTALS: 22/8-18-15-86.