The Newburg girls basketball team (6-10) opened their home tournament with a matchup against a Frisco League foe in Dixon on Tuesday, Jan. 30. The Lady Wolves got out to a phenomenal start in the first quarter, but let their lead trickle away in a 53-45 loss.
The Lady Wolves were hot out of the gate on Tuesday, kicking the game off with a 16-2 run. They went on to win the first quarter 18-6 with four different players chipping in. Kaylee Skinner led the way with seven points, knocking down a three along the way. Kylee Brookshire added another six points as Newburg cruised through the first.
Dixon was able to chip into that lead right away, starting the second quarter with n 11-2 run to cut the Newburg lead to 20-17. The Lady Wolves settled in after that to go on a 9-4 run to close out the half with 29-21 lead. Newburg leaned heavily on Brookshire in the second, as she scored eight of their 11 points. Skinner added a three as the only other Newburg scorer. Dixon's turnaround came from improved shooting from behind the arc, as Tressa Hughes, Tayler McKinnon and Brook Sinclair each knocked down a three.
Newburg's struggles continued after halftime, as Dixon scored the first seven points of the half to get within one point. Grace Affolter finally ended the streak with Newburg's first points of the half with 4:45 left in the third quarter. Newburg only got one more basket in the quarter, while Dixon added another seven points to take a 35-33 lead into the fourth. Hughes was huge for Dixon in the third, knocking down two more threes to lead the Lady Bulldogs with 10 points in the frame.
Brookshire was able to tie the game on Newburg's first possession, but after that it was all Dixon. Lauren Gilbert knocked down a three to give the Lady Bulldogs a 43-39 lead with 5:50 to play and they never gave up that lead. Newburg sent Dixon to the line several times down the stretch to try to close the gap, but they couldn't take advantage of missed free throws. Dixon got seven points from Amy Wade in the quarter to help close out a 53-45 win over the Lady Wolves to open the Newburg Tournament.
"I think we played hard all the way to the end of it, they just outshot us," said Newburg head coach Jeff Atchison after the game. "When we played them a first time, we did a good job of not letting their big three catch and shoot balls...we didn't do a good job of that in the second half."
Brookshire, who scored her 1,000th career point last week, led Newburg with 23 points in the loss. She was the only Lady Wolf to score in every quarter. Skinner added another 10 points before fouling out mid-way through the fourth quarter.
While this was a tough loss for Newburg in the first round of their tournament, the Lady Wolves are still a very young team and games like this will provide some good lessons and experience.
"We've still got four guards that have never played any varsity (before this year)," said coach Atchison. "Outside of our two seniors, we're pretty young and we don't know how to close out games and we don't know how to not let the little things that happen in a game mentally bother us. We don't know how to let those things go."
Newburg will look to learn from this loss and take those lessons into the consolation bracket where they'll face off against Springfield Rush on Thursday, Feb. 1.