NEWTON — Start fast and finish strong — a coach’s dream. That dream became a reality Monday night when Newton Senior High School’s Cardinals used a hot start and a second-half surge to take down visiting Winterset, 75-51.
“I think we came out and attacked right from the get-go,” Newton head coach Nick Wilkins said. “I think they were a little bit shellshocked at first. If you look at our past few games, we really haven’t pushed the pace, and tonight we came out aggressive and it helped get us the win.”
Newton got aggressive right from the tip. Daquan Allen tipped the ball to Tyler Wood off the opening jump, who took it to the basket and missed, but Joe Banfield tipped it in. Nick Easley then got in on the action with two free throws followed by a three-point play to give Newton a 7-0 lead.
Winterset got on the board with a steal and a layup by Coby Van Pelt. Newton continued to push the lead, which climbed to 15-2 after an Easley layup. Nick Glottfelty drained a three from the wing, and Connor Gholson’s three-point play at the end of the first gave the Cards a 23-5 edge.
“We got on them early and they missed some shots,” Wilkins said. “We just kind of got on them and attacked right away. They didn’t get their bearings till the second quarter and allowed us to get that early lead.”
The Huskies crawled back into it. After being down by as many as 21, Winterset got five straight points followed by two three-point plays to cut the lead to 12 points going into halftime.
Winterset came out motivated in the second half. Despite two early threes by Wood, the Huskies continued to close. Van Pelt cut it to 10 points with a layup, then Nick Nelson knocked down a three to cut it to seven.
“Second quarter and about half of the third quarter, they just wanted it more than we did,” Wilkins said. “They played harder than us. They beat us to loose balls. They were crashing the boards. They just kind of got in attack mode.”
Back-to-back threes by Wood silenced the visitor’s cheering section. Chandler Sturtz and Gholson each added buckets late, and Jwan Roush came off the bench to provide some help, pushing the lead to 59-39 going into the fourth quarter.
A few early threes by the Cards put away the game in the fourth and gave Newton a 24-point win at home. The Cards are now 10-10 on the year.
“We went small for a little bit to try to put the breaks on. I thought Jwan did a nice job off the bench, and Tyler hit some threes in the second half that got us going again,” Wilkins said.
Wood led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Sturtz with 14. Gholson was the third Cardinal to score in double figures with 10.
Parker Kilmesh led the Huskies in scoring with 12 points. Van Pelt and Nelson each picked up six.
Newton has one final road game to close out the regular season. The Cards head to Carlisle on Thursday and start postseason play Monday at home against Ottumwa.
“I think we have confidence. Winning six of the last nine games, I think the kids have a lot of confidence,” Wilkins said. “The Dallas Center-Grimes game was out of control, but the Pella game was a lot closer than the score. We have a lot of confidence right now. We’re shooting the ball pretty well, playing well as a team defensively. We’re looking forward to Thursday and getting the playoffs started on Monday.”
Winterset 5-19-15-12 — 51
Newton 23-13-23-16 — 75
Winterset — Nelson 2/0-3-2-6, Caanan Gassmann 0/0-0-1-1, Patrick McNamara 1/1-1-0-5, Matt Baur 2/1-3-1-8, Jaxon Nordstrom 0/0-3-0-0, Van Pelt 3/0-0-0-6, Grant Williams 1/0-2-1-3, Austin Motsinger 0/1-0-0-3, Daniel Brookhart 1/0-1-3-5, Kilmesh 1/3-4-1-12, Austin Lang 1/0-1-0-2. TOTALS: 12/6-18-9-51
Newton — Sturtz 4/0-0-6-14, Wood 2/4-0-1-17, Roush 1/0-1-2-4, Drew Stout 0/1-0-0-3, Allen 1/0-3-0-2, Easley 5/0-2-5-9, Jordan Travis 1/0-2-0-2, Banfield 4/0-3-1-9, Gholson 2/0-1-6-10, Glottfelty 0/1-2-0-3, Jake Bennett 0/0-1-0-0. TOTALS: 20/6-15-21-75