MASON CITY — With a conference title still in reach for the West Fork girls, they know every game is important in chasing that. But more than anything, the Warhawks want to keep getting better no matter what.
West Fork did a little of that Friday night as it held off Newman Catholic 45-40.
“I think we have improved immensely,” West Fork senior Lexi Jones said. “At the beginning of the year we started our strong and then we hit a slump, but now we’re out of it, we’re coming back and we’re just getting better and better.”
The Warhawks had full control of the game after a quarter of play with a 17-3 lead, but Newman didn’t go down easy.
After scoring their first basket just over two minutes into the game, the Knights went on a nearly nine-minute stretch without a point. Once that next one went in, though, Newman began its march.
The Knights got it down to a two-point deficit in the third after starting the quarter on an 11-4 run, but could pull no closer. They even had a chance down three points with under two minutes to play, but the Warhawks stayed composed and brought home the win.
“We just had to trust each other and we just had to keep playing with the same intensity a little more here and there,” Jones said. “We just had to trust our coach what he was telling us, keep going and keep doing it … and we just knew we had to keep finishing and finishing and finishing and putting up shots.”
Jones was particularly good on this night. With the Knights keying in on 6-foot-4 Jacqlyn Caspers in the middle, it freed up Jones to do her thing and get to the rim. She finished with a team-high 15 points.
Jacqlyn Caspers added 12 and McKenna Weaver and Rachel Jones scored six apiece.
On Newman’s side, it was the strong play of Peyton Olson which kept them in the game as she finished with a game-high 17 points.
It was the comeback that they were most impressed with.
“Our girls just played hard all the way through,” Newman coach Mike Schutt said. “We quit turning the ball over – we turned the ball over too much in the first quarter and cut that down the last three quarters.
“Our defense after the first quarter did what we wanted to do … and then we started making some shots. We got all the way back, but just couldn’t get over the hump there at the end.”