SOMONAUK — Considering the fact that seven of the Newark High School girls basketball players had missed the entire schedule of preseason workouts due to their pursuit of an IHSA state volleyball trophy, one would think it would be the Lady Norsemen who came into their season opener looking a little unprepared.
Turns out it was Sandwich instead.
Newark, while looking a little rusty shooting the ball, seemed in midseason form on defense, forcing four Lady Indians turnovers in the first 1 minute, 34 seconds of the opening quarter, 13 in that period and a whopping 35 for the game, a key figure in the 44-36 NHS victory here in the opening round of the Somonauk Tim Humes Breakout Tournament on Monday night.
Meggie Scott tossed in a game-best 16 points and Brooke Kala added eight, seven of those coming at the end of a 15-4 Newark run that took it from a one-point deficit with 6 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third quarter to a 10-point lead with 6:01 left in the fourth.
From there, the Lady Norsemen knocked down just enough of their free throws to hold off Sandwich's late charge.
"Our girls didn't surprise me at all. I knew that though we hadn't practiced as a group, they'd come out and play hard," said Newark coach Barb Scott, whose club also outrebounded SHS 31-26. "I expected Sandwich to come at us and full-court press us as much as they could, and we were ready for that.
"Absolutely, our defense was the key for us tonight. Thirteen turnovers in the first quarter (for Sandwich)? It was working for us then. Our defense is going to be a key for us this season because we won't be as big as we were last year, but we're very quick and we're very unselfish and they'll only get better the more they play together, and that's where we'll get our points."
In fairness to the Lady Indians, they too compelled a passel of turnovers — NHS committing a total of 31 for the game — and limited the Lady Norsemen to a predictably-cool 35.7-percent shooting (15-of-42). However, their inability to complete even simple entry passes from the point and wings led them to 12 miscues in the opening five minutes, while eight points from Scott, including a pair of treys, led Newark to a 13-5 lead late in the first stanza.
Sandwich battled back to a lead, using a 9-2 burst capped when Ezbeydy Rivera laid in a long Nicole Shipman pass for a 20-19 lead with 6:39 showing in the third.
But that's when Newark took off on the game's decisive run, starting with a steal-and-layup and trey by Scott and ending with a pair of Schofield tosses in the fourth.
Sarah Ness netted half of her team-high 10 points down the stretch, to no avail.
"It was a very typical first game, the same thing we did last year," said Sandwich coach Chris Johnson. "Newark's always been a good shooting team, and they did exactly what we thought they'd do, slow it down so they didn't have to go as fast as we wanted to go, and they're just good shooters.
"I can only imagine how many turnovers we ended up having. Thirty-five? The same as we started out with last year. That's a killer. You just can't have that many turnovers and expect a good result. ... Most of those turnovers came from their players tapping it out of our hands or we'd drop it. ... We just weren't ready to take care of the ball. We have to do a better job of taking care of that. We can't keep repeating those same mistakes over and over."
Somonauk Breakout Tournament
Newark 44, Sandwich 36
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
NEWARK (44) — Gittins 1-2 0-2 2, Scott 5-11 3-4 16, Schofield 2-3 3-4 8, Mitchell 1-3 1-3 3, Tomsa 0-6 0-0 0, Kala 3-6 0-0 6, Malone 0-4 1-3 1, Sweeney 0-1 1-2 1, Richards 0-1 0-0 0, Martin 3-5 1-2 7. Totals 15-42 10-18 44.
SANDWICH (36) — Dawson 2-7 4-6 8, Shipman 3-4 1-2 7, Rivera 1-1 0-0 2, S. Ness 4-8 1-2 10, Johnson 0-2 1-2 1, Vana 3-9 0-0 6, Mitchell 0-1 0-0 0, J. Ness 1-67 0-0 2. Totals 14-38 7-12 36.
Newark (1-0) 13 6 8 17 — 44
Sandwich (0-1) 7 8 7 14 — 36
3-point goals — Newark 4-14 (Scott 3-6, Schofield 1-2, Richards 0-1, Kala 0-2, Tomsa 0-3), Sandwich 1-4 (S. Ness 1-2, Johnson 0-1, Mitchell 0-1). Rebounds — Newark 31 (Tomsa 6)), Sandwich 26 (Vana 7). Turnovers — Newark 31, Sandwich 35. Total fouls (fouled out) — Newark 16, Sandwich 20 (Shipman).
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