PELLA — Newton’s Cardinals ended up losing 60-37 Wednesday in Class 4A Region 5 play to host Pella. The 23-point margin was not a true indicator of how the playoff game went.
It was a 12-point game, 43-31, when Alex Hutchinson drained a 3-pointer for Newton at the midway point of the third quarter. The Cardinals came out of the break with more intensity at both ends of the court.
Newton forced Pella’s Lady Dutch into enough mistakes in the third quarter.
“We couldn’t capitalize on them. We’d get with in 12 and just couldn’t break through,” Newton head coach Brandon Sharp said. “Our girls played hard tonight. Pella had a run in the first quarter to put space between us and we couldn’t catch up.”
That run came after Hannah Rhoads’ 3-pointer for Newton tied the game at 7-7.
Pella’s Katie Vandermolen poured in six points in an eight-second span. She hit a 3-pointer, stole the inbounds pass by Newton and drove to the basket. Vandermolen, who scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the first half, scored a three-point play.
The Lady Dutch added five more points while keeping Newton scoreless to extend their lead to 18-7 by the end of the first quarter.
“We gave up way too many offensive rebounds in the first half,” Sharp said. “When you have the two top offensive rebounding teams in the state in 4A, it’s going to come down to which team has the most. They killed us with position.”
Down 23-11, the Cardinals got a boost from their lone senior, Lizzie Stock. Stock sank four consecutive free throws cutting the deficit to eight with 4:23 remaining in the second quarter. Again, the Lady Dutch had a strong offensive surge, 14-6, to lead 37-21 at halftime.
The Cardinals opened the second half with two free throws by Sydney Jenkins. Shelby Gray answered Vandermolen’s basket with a bucket for Newton.
When Jessica Holterhaus netted a 3-pointer for Pella, Hutchinson delivered a three-point play off a steal for Newton. Hutchinson’s three at the 4:05 mark made it 43-31. The Cardinals were holding defensively and had several possession to cut into the Pella lead but couldn’t do it.
Stock, who finished her final game as a Cardinal with a team-high 13 points, scored on a fastbreak. Rhoads downed two free throws and it was a 12-point margin, 47-35, with 5:58 remaining in the game. Newton scored just two more points as its season came to an end.
“This team has grown through the process. We’ve progressed from where we were in Game 1 to this game,” Sharp said. “Maybe it didn’t show on the scoreboard but our girls have grown in the mental aspect of the game.
“We’ve realized how hard it takes to play each possession to come out with a win at the varsity level. I’m extremely proud of this team on how hard they fought all year. These girls never gave up on anything and there were several times they could have.”
Newton cashed in on 16-of-23 free throw attempts Wednesday. Stock was 7-of-8 at the line. The Cardinals finished at 5-17.
Pella also got 13 points from Holterhaus and 11 from Mackenzie Gustafson.
Newton — Jenkins 1-2-0-4, Leonard 0-0-1-0, Stock 3-7-4-13, Hutchinson 1/1-1-2-6, Rhoads 0/1-4-2-7, Gray 1-0-2-2, Jacobsen 0/1-2-2-5, Reynolds 0-0-1-0, Kalkhoff 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 6/3-16-16-37.
Pella — Roslien 0-1-0-1, Finney 1-0-1-2, Sunderman 0-0-2-0, Buchheit 3/1-0-0-9, Gustafson 2-7-3-11, Vandermolen 3/3-2-4-17, Holterhaus 4/1-2-1-13, Groenendyk 1-0-1-2, Borgerding 0-0-5-0, Terpstra 2-1-0-5. TOTALS: 16/5-13-17-60.