Newton High’s Cardinal boys did not get bogged down in their slow start in Tuesday’s season opener at home against Boone’s Toreadors. After falling behind 6-2, the Cardinals outscored the visitors 15-6 to claim the lead by the end of the first quarter.
Newton never trailed again. Led by the outside shooting of senior guard Tyler Wood, the Cardinals posted a 68-53 win. Wood scored 17 of his game-high 30 points in the first half. Wood scorched the nylons for five 3-pointers on the night.
Senior guard Nick Easley provided 19 points. Both Wood and Easley were tough at the free-throw line. Wood was 9-of-10 and Easley finished 6-of-7. The Cardinals worked well at the line all night, hitting 22-of-25 free throw attempts.
“It was a pretty typical first game. We have a lot of guys back and some new guys trying find their roles and fit in. It took us a little to get going,” said Nick Wilkins, Newton head coach. “Everyone knows that Tyler is our best player. It’s going to be a little bit of how Tyler goes, we’re going to go.”
Wilkins said he was pleased with what he saw from all the players who played in the varsity game. Most teams know Wood is the top player back for Newton, he said, “but that’s alright since we have guys who can score from other places.”
Boone opened the game with a 3-pointer from Ethan Lewis. Newton junior Joseph Banfield scored inside to make it 3-2, but the Cardinals went more than two minutes without scoring. Easley hit a jump shot at the 4:11 mark to break the drought.
Back-to-back baskets by Morgan Maher and Garrett Sturtz — both coming off the bench — gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 8-7 with 2:40 left in the first quarter. After Lewis sank two free throws, Wood began to get his shooting range down.
Fans saw three 3-pointers in a row. Wood started it with Tanner Schminke responding in kind for Boone, then Wood drilled another trey. Wood added three more on a conventional three-point play with 38 seconds on the clock, putting Newton up 17-12.
Jordan Travis, senior forward, got the first basket of the second quarter. Wood and Easley downed four straight free throws to increase the Cardinal lead to 23-12 in the first two minutes of the period. Boone made a run at the Cardinals, but Newton outscored the Toreadors 16-10 in the period to take a 33-22 advantage into halftime.
“We talked about the good things and the bad things we did,” Wood said about the Cardinals’ halftime talk. “We knew if we played tough defense like we did the first four minutes of the second quarter and finish at the basket on the offensive end, we’d be hard to beat.
“We had some first-game jitters at the start. We got those out of the way and started playing our game.”
Points didn’t come quickly in the third quarter. Easley scored at the 7:31 mark then again at 5:04 mark to put Newton up 27-22. Boone finally got a bucket for the second half from Bailey Turner. That was answered by a deep 3-pointer from Wood.
The Cardinals held their own with a 14-12 scoring edge in the third quarter. They took a 47-32 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
Boone senior Ashton Clemons scored three points on the inside to spark a little run by his team. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Lewis and Turner pushed Boone to within 11, 52-41, with 5:52 remaining in the game.
Wood hit a shot on drive down the lane for Newton and drained a 3-pointer to give the Cards a 57-44 lead at the 3:37 mark. Boone got within 10 points, 59-49, but no closer down the stretch.
Garrett Sturtz, Easley and Trey Vanderlaan sank free throws to stave off the Boone rally. Senior Devin Shores had a bucket with 1:58 left to put the Cardinals up 53-51.
“It’s nice to get the win and we can build from there. We did a lot of good things tonight — shooting 22-of-25 from the free-throw line, if we can do that every night we’ll be hard to beat,” Wilkins said. “We do have things to work on and improve. It’s encouraging to be able to say we played pretty well and won, knowing we can get a lot better.”
The Cardinals converted on 6-of-18 3-point field goal attempts. They were 20-of-46 from the field overall. They controlled 30 rebounds and had 18 assists as a team. Newton turned the ball over 13 times.
Clemons finished with 15 points for the Toreadors and Lewis had 12 points. Boone went 12-of-15 from the line.
Newton (1-0) opens Little Hawkeye Conference play at home Friday. The Cardinals host Pella Christian.
On Tuesday, the boys’ junior varsity lost to Boone 44-41 in overtime. Josh Ventling led Newton with 14 points. Josh Gulling and Brennen Dodd each had six rebounds. Reagan Maple took three charges on the defensive end.
The Newton freshmen dropped a 62-41 decision to Boone.
Boone (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP): Turner 2/1-0-1-7, Schminke 1/2-0-0-8, Lewis 0/2-6-3-12, Anderson 1-1-5-3, Hicks 0-0-3-0, McBirnie 0-0-1-0, Losh 2-2-0-4, Johnson 0-0-4-0, Clemons 6-3-1-15, Krafcisin 1-0-3-2. TOTALS: 13/5-12-21-53.
Newton (FG/3-pt-FT-F-TP): Shores 1-0-2-2, Stout 0-0-2-0, Wood 3/5-9-1-30, Bennett 0-0-2-0, Banfield 2-0-0-4, Easley 5/1-6-1-19, Travis 1-0-2-2, Dodd 0-0-1-0, Maher 1-2-2-4, Vanderlaan 0-1-0-1, Sturtz 1-4-1-6. TOTALS: 14/6-22-14-68.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or email@example.com