By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — It was not the storybook ending for a special night that Newton girls basketball fans had hoped for.
But, the Indian fans didn’t leave without a big celebration in the Lady Indians 51-46 loss to Franklin Monroe in CCC action Thursday night.
A year ago, Maddie Mollette became the Newton girls first 1,000-point scorer.
On Thursday, her cousin Tatum McBride joined her on the list.
McBride scored 20 points in the loss, moving her career total to 1,005 — just 59 points behind Mollette.
“Actually, my cousin has the record,” McBride said with a smile after the game. “Really, I tried not to think too much about the 1,000 points.”
And Newton coach Steve Fisher said the junior guard did a great job of that.
“I have coached a number of really good players,” Fisher said. “And a lot of them struggled (when they were nearing 1,000 points). So, I am really proud of Tatum and the way she handled it. She may have been a little tight early. But, then she settled in.”
After a nine-point first half that got her within six of the 1,000-point mark, McBride scored on a drive and hit two free throws at 4:00 mark to get within two of the milestone.
Two possessions later, McBride came open on a cut to the basket and found nothing but net on an eight-foot jumper as the Newton fans erupted with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter.
“It felt really good when I let that shot go,” McBride said. “I thought that was it (1,000 points). I wasn’t sure until the crowd started cheering. That pumped me up.”
And while McBride can score with the best of them, she also had a handful of assists and steals — as usual.
“She had assists and steals like she always does,” Fisher said.
And while her milestone basket tied the game, Newton could never get over the top in the game.
FM took advantage of second and third shots at the offensive end all game long.
“Two things,” Fisher said. “Rebounding and empty possessions. You can’t give up that many offensive rebounds and expect to win the game.”
Newton was trailing 43-38 midway through the quarter when Macy Flanary scored off a McBride assist and McBride scored off a steal to make it 43-42 with 3:55 to go.
Newton then went more than two and half minutes without scoring.
“It is one of the things that has hurt us in close losses,” Fisher said. “We don’t handle the ball well enough. We had some really costly turnovers.”
Belle Cable hit her second three of the quarter to put FM up 46-42 in that stretch.
“They had one three going to the fourth quarter and made three in the fourth quarter,” Fisher lamented.
But Aliya Stine banked a runner in and Elizabeth Carroll scored off a McBride steal to tie it at 46 with 1:01 remaining.
Corina Conley hit two of four free throws down the stretch to give FM a48-46 lead with 30.1 seconds to go.
Newton put up a rushed shot that was off the mark and Belle Cable hit two straight free throws with 10.6 seconds to go to seal the win.
“We just have to come back from this game and get better,” Fisher said.
McBride led all scorers with 20 points and Carroll added 11.
Belle Cable, Conley and Audrey Cable all had 11 points, with Conley grabbing 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Kennedy Morris added seven points and 10 rebounds and Chloe Peters scored seven.
Newton was 18 of 48 from the floor for 38 percent and five of eight from the line for 63 percent.
FM was 18 of 44 from the floor for 41 percent and 11 of 15 from the line for 73 percent.
The Jets more than doubled the Indians on the board — 35-16 — and had 15 turnovers to Newton’s 18.
Newton, 13-7 overall and 6-5 in the CCC, will play at Graham Saturday and at National Trail Tuesday to close the season.
“This game was disappointing,” McBride said about the loss. “We just weren’t able to get enough ball movement. But, I am excited about making a tournament run.”
After joining her cousin in the 1,000-point club.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.