By Kyle Shaner
PITSBURG — Madison Mollette netted 21 points to become Newton’s girls’ career leading scorer Thursday evening as the Lady Indians defeated Franklin Monroe 73-39. The 5 foot 6 senior led all scorers in the game and assumed the all-time leadership in the 2nd quarter. Mollette now has 951 points.
Mollette is the lone senior on this young Lady Indians squad that Coach Neal Hans describes. “Maddie, Tatum and Aliya, the three girls that had varsity experience. The rest haven’t played much varsity before this year. We’ve been in every game that we’ve played. Last year we won a lot of close ones. This year we’ve lost some close ones where we had opportunity to win. We just didn’t take care of the ball or made little mistakes here and there and didn’t make baskets when we needed to.”
Newton opened the game as though they were on a mission. Thanks to a full-court press that caused numerous Lady Jets turnovers early, the Lady Indians were able to open a 13-2 margin a looked to be headed to a monster quarter. FM had other ideas.
Speaking of the Newton press FM coach Abbey Moore stated. “The first quarter we struggled making the short passes against it. They’re quick. They’re fast. Newton’s a great ball team. We struggled at the beginning, but we overcame and did a good job adapting and making better decisions and breaking that pressure.”
The Lady Jets began to attack the middle of the press and they were able to get quick shots off their press-break offense or setup their half-court attack. FM closed the period on a 9-3 run of their own to close the deficit to 16-11 after one period.
“That gave us a lot of encouragement going on and confidence going into the second,” said Coach Moore. “They came out blazing in the second. We got some turnovers that led to some easy buckets on their end and then we got back into that hole again. We did a good job in that first quarter of getting back into the game, making it a close margin again. My girls did well there. That’s showing progress. That’s a positive to build upon.”
FM managed to keep the game close until Newton’s Britney Oburn converted two free throws with 6:17 until the half to make the score 20-15. This began a 17-4 run that carried the Lady Indians to a 37-19 half time lead.
The third quarter was much more competitive as Newton only outscored the Lady Jets 18-11. Carrie Baker led the FM effort with a triple and a two-pointer. The Lady Indians won the fourth quarter 18-9.
“It’s been a really good year,” said Coach Hans. “Little disappointed in our record at times. Hopefully, been on a three game losing streak there and this will help reverse that and give us some confidence back.”
Mollette paced the Lady Indians with 21 with Tatum McBride adding 19 while Aliya Stine contributed 11. Tara Goubeaux, Kinsey Goins and Allie Armstrong each had 8 for the Lady Jets.
The win moves Newton to 12-7 on the year and 7-4 in the Cross County Conference. The loss drops the Lady Jets to 2-17 and 2-9 in conference play.