By Rob Kiser
TROY — When Gavin Spitler took over as Newton boys basketball coach this season, he understood there would be some growing pains.
“I think we had one player with varsity experience coming into the season,” Spitler said about a squad that included just two seniors.
And while that season ended at 5-18 after a 68-37 loss to top seed Catholic Central in the Troy D-IV sectional action Tuesday night, Spitler can see the seeds have been planted for future success.
“I definitely feel like we are headed in the right direction,” Spitler said. “I think we made a lot of progress. We had a lot of close losses this season.”
And even the final score against the 20-4 Irish was not indicative of a game that was close for much of the first half.
A three by Treg Jackson had Newton within 6-5 early and four more points kept the Indians within 13-9 and they trailed 14-9 after one quarter.
Early in the second quarter, a basket by Kleyson Wehrley got Newton within 17-11.
“I thought we came out and executed our plan in the first half,” Spitler said. “We missed some opportunities. We missed about five layups in the first half.”
And Catholic Central junior Sabien Doolittle began to heat up in the second quarter.
After not scoring in the opening quarter, Doolittle hit four threes and scored 14 points in the second quarter and added five points each in the third and fourth quarters, finishing with six 3-pointers.
“We didn’t have an answer for him (Sabien Doolittle),” Spitler said. “He is tough to stop.”
That allowed the Irish to open a 33-18 halftime lead and stretch it to 54-28 after three quarters.
“In the second half, we got away from our game plan,” Spitler said. “We started pushing the ball (up and down the floor) and that is not what we wanted to do.”
Jackson finished his career with a bang for the Indians — hitting three straight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
He finished with 20 of Newton’s 37 points, while Wehrley added 10.
Doolittle had 24 points for the Irish,
Trey Brown scored nine, Peyton Harris added eight points and Mykah Eichie and Dominic DeWitt both scored seven.
Jacob Woeber had seven rebounds and Harris pulled down six.
Newton was 14 of 42 from the floor for 33 percent and three of six from the line for 50 percent.
Catholic Central was 27 of 44 from the floor for 61 percent and six of 12 from the line for 50 percent.
The Irish won the boards 28-12 and had 12 turnovers to Newton’s nine.
“I thought we came a long way from the start of the year,” Spitler said. “We just have to find a way to be more consistent. We have a group of kids who are dedicated to putting the work in to get better.”
Just another sign the program is headed in the right direction.
Catholic Central (68)
Trey Dunn 1-2-4, Sabien Doolittle 9-0-24, Dominic DeWitt 3-1-7, Jacob Woeber 1-1-3, Peyton Harris 4-0-8, Mykah Eichie 3-0-7, Trey Brown 3-2-9, Deece Catanzarro 1-0-2, Gunner Weaver 0-0-0, Casey Kampman 0-0-0, Colby Zeller 2-0-4. Totals: 27-6-68.
Treg Jackson 8-0-20, Ryan Mollette 2-0-4, Chet Jamison 1-0-3, Charlie Walker 0-0-0, Kleyson Wehrley 3-3-10, Nash Lavy 0-0-0, Andrew Whittaker 0-0-0, Enon Weaver 0-0-0, James Whittaker 0-0-0, Ethan Cook 0-0-0, Mitchell Montgomery 0-0-0, Ross Ferrell 0-0-0. Totals: 14-3-37.
3-point field goals — Catholic Central: Doolittle (6), Eichie, Brown. Newton: Jackson 4, Jamison, Wehrley.
Score By Quarters
Catholic Central 14 33 54 68
Newton 9 18 28 37
Records: Catholic Central 20-4, Newton 5-18.