Effingham Daily News
Newton scraped by Casey-Westfield 39-33 Monday night in a hard-fought Little Illini Conference game, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Lady Eagle bench.
Newton got 22 of its 39 points on the evening from three players who started the game on the bench, led by Brooke Koebele's 11 points. Freshman Ariel Richards had eight points, coming up big down the stretch, and Macy Probst hit one 3-pointer to give Newton a lead it'd never relinquish.
The bench play was key, with starter Allison Will battling foul trouble and Lexie Davidson hurting both her knee and her ankle while playing through the pain.
"Some other people had to step up and they did," said Newton coach Brad Harris. "Everyone's got to step in and contribute, it's going to be bits and pieces here and there."
The Lady Eagles took an early 7-3 lead in the first quarter behind some quick buckets by Emily Kerner and Andrea Cartright, only to see it slip away midway through the second. Newton went nearly a full quarter without scoring, as a layup by Koebele re-ignited the offense after a scoring drought of 7:10.
Koebele kept it going, scoring nine points in the second quarter. The only other bucket was Probst's lone three of the day, putting Newton up 15-14 with 1:39 left and they took a 19-16 lead to the half.
Davidson started the third with a pair of free throws, and a three by Richards pushed the lead to 24-18 with five minutes in the third. But another scoring drought hit, this time for six minutes, as Casey-Westfield tied the game at 24-24 on a pair of jumpers by Kyleigh Decker entering the fourth.
"It was just a struggle to get shots, we knew they were going to be up in our face," Harris said.
Newton kept the lead and led by four with 4:19 to go, but the Lady Warriors scored four points in four seconds on two Conner Cutright free throws and a steal/layup combination by Tiarra Black.
With the score tied at 31-31, the Eagles battened down the hatches.
Richards converted both free throws in a one-and-one to put Newton back up, and a Cartright layup pushed the lead to 35-31 with 1:11 left.
Newton iced the game at the line, and when the Eagles missed free throws, they got the rebound and went back to the line, like they did on their final two possessions up two points.
The win moves Newton to 3-6 and 2-1 in LIC play, and it could be a big win for Harris' squad.
"It's a huge lift for them, especially mentally," he said. "When they came back and tied it at 31-31, it could have went either way."
Cartright had eight points and Kerner scored seven of her own.
The Eagles head to Red Hill Thursday night for another conference showdown.
Casey-Westfield 5 11 8 9 33
Newton 7 12 5 15 39
C-W: Decker 9, Black 8, Cutright 7, Bradenburg 4, Cox 4, Morgan 1
Newton: Koebele 11, Cartright 8, Richards 8, Kerner 7, Ma. Probst 3, Davidson 2