KNOXVILLE — The Newton Cardinals came in with a plan and they executed it as they disrupted the Knoxville Panthers, handing them their second loss of the year in a 64-56 upset.
Knoxville held a 16-14 lead after the first quarter with five points from Maggie Wilkins and a late Emma Dunkin layup to give the Panthers the lead.
The second quarter turned the game on it’s head. Wilkins was swarmed with and without the ball and Newton dared the other four Knoxville players to beat them.
The Cardinals rattled off a quick 8-0 run to take the lead, forcing turnovers and attacking the glass, which they dominated with 42 rebounds in favor of Knoxville’s 27.
Wilkins was held scoreless in the quarter while Newton outscored Knoxville 18-8 in the period behind a huge 10-point quarter from Chassidy Henwood to take a 32-24 lead into the break.
The Panthers continued to have trouble scoring against Newton’s junk defense as they were held to 32.1% shooting on the night. They would pick up some momentum late in the third with a Larissa Wells three and six quick points from Wilkins cut the deficit to 48-42 with eight minutes to go.
Knoxville eventually came all the way back with Wilkins making a tough floater from almost behind the backboard along baseline to put the Panthers out in front 51-50 for the first time since the first quarter.
But Newton would answer right back with Henwood’s hoop and harm putting the Cardinals back ahead 53-51 with 3:13 left.
After Wilkins’ bucket, Newton closed out the game on a 14-5 run behind a lot of free throws.
There was a lot of air in the whistle in this one. The two teams combined for 37 fouls and 45 free throws. Knoxville missed a couple of key free throws in the second half, finishing 18-of-26 from the line while Newton was 14-of-19. Three girls fouled out.
Newton had four starters score in double figures with Henwood going for 18 points, six rebounds, seven assists, eight steals and five blocks. Meg Callaghan equally had a huge night with 16 points, 19 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.
Wilkins would finish with 20 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals. Dunkin added 12 points while Marley McKay chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
Knoxville (7-2, 4-1 SCC) will try to bounce back at home against Pella Christian (5-5, 1-3 LHC) on Monday at 6:30 p.m.