Newton girls swat away Bobcats, improve to 2-0

Dec. 3—Newton head girls basketball coach Eric Vander Velden looked up at the scoreboard after the first quarter and realized Marshalltown had not yet scored.

The Cardinals led 11-0 after eight minutes and never looked back during a 54-30 non-conference home win over the Bobcats on Thursday.

Newton is 2-0 this season after winning just three games all of last season.

"We knew they'd turn the ball over or take a bad shot if we applied enough pressure," Vander Velden said. "That first quarter lead was big for us."

The Cardinals forced the Bobcats into 37 turnovers with solid full-court pressure. Both teams shot 29 percent from the floor. Newton was 1-of-10 from 3-point range.

"The girls know what they have to improve on. We have to make our layups and convert our inside shots," Vander Velden said. "Sometimes we rush a little too much. We need to stay under control."

Four different Cardinals (2-0) scored points in the first frame. Sophia Reynolds had five points in each of the first two periods and Audrey Rausch had a big second half to lead Newton to its second straight home win.

A layup by Reynolds in the second pushed the lead to 19-4 and then a 3-point play by Rausch extended the margin to 22-6. That duo combined for a 7-0 run and Marissa Cunningham's bucket inside late in the half gave the Cardinals a 31-11 lead at halftime.

"We have done well working as a team," Rausch said. "We trust each other and are playing well at the defensive end."

Rausch matched a career-high with 18 points in Newton's season opener on Tuesday. She scored 16 against Marshalltown and added nine steals and two assists.

The nine steals tied for the fourth most in a single game in school history.

"Our strength is defense right now," Vander Velden said. "We are really pressuring the ball and forcing the other team to turn it over."

Neither team played well offensively in the third. They combined for 10 points and Rausch scored three of them.

The offense picked up in the fourth as Newton outscored Marshalltown 17-14. Rausch scored six of her 16 in the period, including the only 3-pointer made by the Cardinals.

"I feel a lot more confident right now especially after the 18 points the other night," Rausch said.

Newton was 17-of-34 from the foul line in the game but made 10-of-16 in the fourth to close it out. All three of Alex Riney's points came at the line in the period, too.

"We put in a lot of time yesterday on free throws," Vander Velden said. "We still have to make more. We can't do that against good teams and expect to win."

Reynolds finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and seven steals to lead the Cardinals. Ryan added eight points, four boards and two steals and Cadie Horn registered four points, nine rebounds and two steals.

The Cardinals out-rebounded Marshalltown 42-27 and they turned the ball over 17 times.

Cunningham scored four points, Emily Wermager grabbed four boards, Riney scored three points and corralled three rebounds and Alex Garvis added three boards and three assists.

Rausch likes how her team has started the season but knows a few things need to get better.

The Cardinals have made just 3-of-20 from 3-point range and buried only 27-of-60 from the charity stripe through two games.

"We need to go up there with more confidence, relax and see it through," Rausch said about the free throws. "Our passing need to be better. We also need to take smart shots."

Marshalltown (0-3) was led by Sara Huffman's six points and six rebounds.

Notes: Newton has 50 steals so far this season. Rausch (15) and Reynolds (11) lead the way in that category. ... Ellie Horn has joined the Newton coaching staff as a volunteer. The Cardinal alum is working with the current crop of Newton post players and is a former DMACC Bear and Northwest Missouri State Bearcat. ... Newton's junior varsity team downed Marshalltown 46-16. Tori White led the way with 13 points, Hailey Dickerson scored nine and Rilyn Titus put in eight.