The East Newton Lady Patriots rolled out a balanced attack in all facets of the game on Monday. They shot the long ball well, maintained a dominant inside presence and played solid defense. Mixed together and it equaled the recipe for victory — a 49-37 one to be exact — over the Neosho Lady Wildcats.
Early on it was the 3-pointer that helped the Lady Patriots build a 13-8 lead early on behind a pair of treys from sophomore Emily Brummett. Whitney Thomlinson would add another dime in the second quarter before Kourtney Brewster would make her presence known in the paint, to the tune of 15 second half points, as the Lady Patriots (10-6) remained in front from the earliest minute of the game.
Brewster, a sophomore, led the game with 22 points, which included 10 in the fourth quarter alone after the Lady Wildcats cut the deficit to six points (35-29) to start the fourth quarter in a last-ditch comeback bid.
East Newton’s efficiency with the ball seemingly made every Neosho possession count. The Lady Wildcats, however, made too many mistakes and didn’t shoot particularly well from the free throw line either, where they didn’t make a shot (0-for-9) in the game.
“We hope we have that kind of balance,” East Newton coach Marty Rinehart said. “We haven’t shot it this year as well as I feel like we can. Tonight we were a little more balanced. The girls did a great job late of being patient and waiting for stuff to happen. They made some really nice interior passes and Kourtney (Brewster) did a really nice job of finishing.”
The Lady Wildcats (6-9) mounted a comeback bid in the third quarter when their pressure defense seemed to catch the Lady Patriots off guard. Neosho senior Matty Liedtke buried a 3-pointer in the period to help Neosho outscore East Newton 13-7 in the frame. But when it appeared the Lady Wildcats were ready to make a push, Brewster took control and put it away.
“Early in the game I was a little worried,” East Newton coach Marty Rinehart said. “(Neosho) jumped out with a little pressure and got us. We responded really well after that.”
Haley Heilig finished with eight points for the Lady Patriots while Whitney Thomlinson had seven and Brummett and Aubrey McDermott added six.
Chelsey Henry led the Lady Wildcats with 12 points while Morgan Rathmann finished with eight, Corea Lowery four, Morgan Rogers six, Liedtke three, Brooke Stauffer two and Emily Harrell two.
“Give (the Lady Patriots) credit, they played very well, they shot the ball very well,” Neosho coach Lance Robbins said. “We didn’t have an answer for Brewster inside. She had a good game. They played well and we didn’t. We turned the ball over too much and didn’t execute very well on offense.
Page 2 of 2 - “We’ve got a lot of work to do if we’re going to be a good basketball team. But you’ve got to give (East Newton) credit, they played a very good basketball game.”
The Lady Wildcats have a long layoff until their next game as they aren’t back in action until next Friday, Jan. 25, with a 6 p.m. tilt against McDonald County at NHS. The Lady Patriots, meanwhile, are at Seneca at 6 p.m. on Thursday.