The Dodge City Red Demons returned to their defensive roots Thursday night as they derailed the Newton Railers 44-33 in the final first round game of the 70th Tournament of Champions.
The Red Demons allowed the Railers to 11-of-34 from the field and forced 15 Newton turnovers as they fought back with a complete game after a two-game losing streak this weekend.
"Our kids played hard. We're capable of playing better, but that's not taking anything away from Newton," said DCHS head coach Dennis Hamilton. "We were hit and miss shooting and we were pretty solid on defense. Newton plays deliberate and likes to muddy the water and we do the same thing, but sometimes do it to ourselves."
Shaphan Gross and Jace Larson scored 11 points and six rebounds apiece to lead the Red Demons (5-3), while Matt Goedeken added eight points.
"We took a big emphasis on our defense," Gross said. "We discussed it a lot in practice to keep the pressure up on the whole defensive possession, with an emphasis on our help-side defense.
"It was definitely a lot better than (last week's game against Great Bend). We got calmed down after practice. We just wanted to move on and get back out there again."
Grant Walker led Newton (3-6) with eight points.
The Red Demons scored the first nine points of the game and allowed only one three-point basket in the opening. tanza. The Railers committed four turnovers which Dodge City turned into six points.
Dodge City continued to dominate for most of the second quarter, pushing the lead to 15-4 midway through the stanza. The Demons led 21-11 at halftime.
Gross scored eight points and three boards to lead Dodge City in scoring with 14 of the DCHS points came off Newton turnovers. The Railers were only 3-of-14 from the field before intermission.
Newton hit their first two baskets of the second half before Dodge City went on a 10-point run to push the margin to 33-15 with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. The Red Demons were 6-of-9 from the field in the stanza and led 36-21 going into the final quarter.
The Red Demons will face Shawnee Mission South in a semifinal contest scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. tipoff. Newton faces Wichita South in a losers' bracket game at 3:30 p.m.
"It's definitely going to be a tempo control game; we hope," Hamilton said. "They have a lot of ways they can attack you: on the inside and the outside with team speed and team size. We're going to show up and battle."
NEWTON (33) -- Austin Korgmeir 2-4 2-2 6, Jacob Wright 1-1 0-0 2, Braeden Morrison 1-1 0-0 3, Gunar Drinnen 2-8 0-0 5, Grant Walker 2-8 2-2 6, Josh Carlgren 2-3 0-0 6, Jack Kingsley 0-2 0-0 0, Brenden Downey 1-2 0-0 2, Lane Pauls 0-3 0-0 0, Josh Robinson 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 11-34 5-6 33.
Page 2 of 2 - DODGE CITY (44) -- Rashaan Taylor 0-2 2-4 2, Jackson Oldham 0-3 0-0 0, Zach Norton 0-0 0-0 0, Shaphan Gross 3-7 4-6 11, Austin Weiser 1-2 0-0 2, Jordan Doan 2-3 0-2 6, Kelan Newton 2-4 0-0 4, Jace Larson 3-5 4-9 11, Matt Goedeken 3-6 1-2 8. Totals 14-32 11-23 44.
Newton 3 8 10 12 -- 33
Dodge City 9 12 15 8 -- 44
Three-point baskets -- Newton 6 (Morrison 1, Drinnen 1, Walker 2, Carlgren 2), Dodge City 5 (Gross 1, Doan 2, Larson 1, Goedeken 1). Records -- Newton 3-6, Dodge City 5-3.