By Josh Brown
WEST MILTON — Making school history may not be enough for the Newton Indians.
Madison Mollette and Tatum McBride combined to pour in 39 points and the Indians’ high-pressure defense forced 30 Milton-Union turnovers Monday night, leading the Newton girls basketball team to an impressive 47-35 victory, the team’s second straight win to start the year after it set a single-season school record for wins the previous one.
Mollette led all scorers with 21 points, finished off a double-double with 14 rebounds and added six steals, while McBride added 18 points — hitting three first-quarter 3s to set the tone for the game — and six rebounds.
“Maddie’s really stepped up this year,” Newton coach Neal Hans said of Mollette. In practice, she’s really taken control. She goes to the basket hard and attacks the boards hard for us. And Tatum has worked real hard on her shooting over the summer. When she’s on, I’ve told her she needs to be looking toward the basket.”
A 3 by McBride on the game’s first possession, a quick steal-and-putback by Mollette and another Mollette steal leading to a McBride 3 forced a Milton-Union timeout at the 5:36 mark of the first quarter. But another empty Bulldog possession led to another Mollette basket, then McBride drilled yet another 3 after another turnover — and Milton-Union coach Katie Roose had seen enough, calling timeout once again with her team down 13-0 at the 3:24 mark.
“I challenged them in that timeout,” Roose said. “I told them that we were making all the mistakes, that they were outhustling us and that it looked like we didn’t even want to be there. And they did respond to that.
“The girls were a little nervous. They knew about the success Newton had last year, and I asked them during the JV game if they were nervous — and they were honest and said yes. Newton’s pressure and intensity was too much for us at the beginning of the game, but once we got past that and calmed down, it was a better basketball game.”
Bri Stone ended the Indians’ run with a bucket inside off an assist from Madeline Brown, then Stone hit a free throw to make it 13-3. Newton got three more quick buckets off of turnovers, then Stone scored a third-chance bucket — but the Indians led 21-5 after the first quarter.
Stone — the lone Bulldog starter that didn’t score in Milton-Union’s season-opening win against Brookville Saturday — scored the Bulldogs’ first seven points of the game and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds to lead the team. But while Newton’s scoring slowed in the second quarter, they still held a 28-13 lead at the half, having forced 17 turnovers to that point.
“We’ve got pretty good pressure,” Hans said. “We may not be big, but we’re quick — and all of the girls give a lot of effort. They all work hard.”
The Bulldogs kept fighting, though, scoring the first seven points of the third quarter to cut the lead to single digits at 28-20. A putback by Kaylee Kessler made the lead 10 again, but Kristen Dickison hit Beyonce Bobbitt for a fast break layup to keep the score close.
Newton flipped the switch back on, though, with Mollette scoring seven points during a 10-0 run to close the third, and the Indians led 40-22.
“We told the girls that basketball is a game of runs,” Hans said. “You’ve got to withstand them, and yours have got to be better than theirs.”
Michaela Fullmer hit a pair of fourth-quarter 3s, one that got the Bulldogs back with 10 late at 43-33, but the Indians were able to work the clock from there and preserve the 12-point win.
“We clawed back into the game in the third, got it to single digits, but then they went on a 10-0 run,” Roose said. “Have to give our girls credit, they were still hustling and working hard in the fourth quarter, even after the game looked like it was over. We challenged them in the locker room after the game to play with that level of in practice. It was definitely a learning experience.”
Elizabeth Carroll added four points for Newton (2-0), with Kesler adding two points and four rebounds and Aliya Stine adding two points.
Fullmer and Tylor Jacobs each had six points for the Bulldogs (1-1), Bobbit and Brown each had four points, and Liz Renner had two points and nine rebounds.
Milton-Union travels to Tri-County North Tuesday, while Newton hosts National Trail Dec. 1.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.