NORWALK — Converting at the free-throw line, Norwalk’s Warriors held of Newton High’s Cardinal girls on Tuesday night. Newton pulled to within one point with 1:27 left in the game, but Norwalk hit 4-of-6 foul shots to win 35-30.
The Cardinals played catch up all night, and trailed by 10 points, 31-21, heading into the fourth quarter. That’s where the score stood with 5:30 left in the game.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Randi Walters and a bucket by junior Peyton Maher pulled the Cardinals back into the contest. The Cardinals tightened up defensively, tying up the ball to get possession at the 2:32 mark.
Walters’ three was off the mark and the Warriors came up with the rebound. Norwalk’s Gianna Bellizzi missed on a one-and-one, but the Warriors retained possession as the rebound went out of bounds off a Newton player.
Walters swiped the basketball and action moved to Newton’s end of the court. Senior post player Ali Bestell was fouled on her putback attempt and walked to the free-throw line with 1:27 left. Bestell sank the second of her two tries to make it 31-30.
Following a timeout, Newton put Bellizzi back on the line in a bonus situation. The Warrior junior netted both tosses to push her team’s lead to 33-30.
Newton was unable to respond offensively. Miranda Hughes was at the line in a one-and-one situation and hit the first free throw, but again the Cardinals came up empty on an offensive trip with 20 seconds left.
Shae Campbell hit a free throw with 15 seconds to seal the win for Norwalk. The Warriors have won two Little Hawkeye Conference games in a row. Newton (3-8) dropped to 1-5 in LHC and Norwalk (5-6) is 2-4.
“Tonight, we competed for 32 minutes. I am Happy with how we played defensively,” Newton head coach Brandon Sharp said. “We did a nice job communicating. We still turned the ball over too much against a team that didn’t pressure us too much.”
Newton had 17 turnovers to Norwalk’s 10 turnovers. Each team had nine field goals and two 3-pointers in the game. The Warriors cashed in 11-of-18 free throw attempts while the Cardinals got to the line 11 times, hitting six tosses.
“Offensively, we made the commitment to start attacking the basket and get to the free-throw line. The girls did a nice job of it. We got to the free-throw line more tonight than we have the last two games combined,” Sharp said.
Senior Anna Forsyth broke a scoreless first quarter, sinking one-of-two free throws for the Cardinals with 5:59 left on the clock. It was the last time Newton led in the game as Norwalk rattled off nine unanswered points.
Sharp took a timeout at the 1:34 mark. Newton closed the gap to 11-7 on three baskets by Walters by the end of the period.
Scoring was slow in the second quarter as almost four minutes ticked off the clock before either team scored. Norwalk held its edge by outscoring Newton 5-4 to take a 16-11 lead into halftime.
Two free throws by senior Addy Blom brought the Cardinals to within three to start the third quarter. Norwalk led 19-16 with 4:35 left in the stanza then stretched it’s lead to 23-16. A 3-pointer by Jayden Lammers at the buzzer had the Warriors up 31-21.
Newton made a run, but couldn’t get over the hump. The Cardinals shot 34 percent, 11-of-32, from the field. They were 2-of-12 from 3-point range.
“The girls are learning we can’t just settle and be a jump-shooting team. We need to tack and take this free points,” Sharp said. “We got back to our identity, and we will continue to work and focus on that.”
Walters, who fouled out with 16 seconds left in the game, led all scorers with 17 points for Newton. She had six rebounds and two steals. Senior Marcelina Marvelli had three steals and two assists.
Bestell pulled down four rebounds and had two steals. Blom blocked one shot and Maher had two steals.
Courtney Westvold led Norwalk’s balanced scoring with nine points. Lammers and Ben Moritz each had six points.
Newton finishes the first round of LHC games in a 6:15 p.m. contest on Friday at Pella Christian. The Cardinals have seven of their final 10 games at home.
Newton (FG/3-pt): Forsyth 0-1-4-1, Walters 5/2-1-5-17, Marvelli 3-0-1-6, Rhoads 0-0-1-0, Callaghan 0-0-1-0, Maher 0-1-3-1, Bestell 1-1-2-3, Blom 0-2-1-2. TOTALS: 9/2-6-18-30.
Norwalk (FG/3-pt): Lammers 0/2-0-2-6, Campbell 0-3-1-3, Eltjes 0-0-1-0, Hughes 1-3-1-5, Bellizzi 1-2-1-4, Westvold 4-1-1-9, Mortiz 2-2-1-6, Morawski 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 9/2-11-8-35.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535