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Derby’s 3-2 zone defense couldn’t have crafted a more unpleasant image for Newton. 

The perimeter was lined by Tatum Boettjer (6-foot-3), Jaidyn Schomp (6-foot-3) and Addy Brown (6-foot-2), while a mix of guards tormented the paint behind them. 

The Lady Panthers (12-2) held the host Railers to a pair of first-half baskets, overwhelming an undermanned roster in their 70-15 road win. 

“We know the next two weeks are going to be a lot,” Jodie Karsak said. “We didn’t want to make it just about beating Newton, but going out and playing with a purpose… That look was something we wanted to try and we liked what we saw.”

Brown scored a game-high 15 points, while Boettjer set a season high with a 13-point night. 

After Newton’s Lexi Valle-Ponds connected to make it 10-4 Derby with 2:22 remaining in the first quarter, Derby blew the game open with a 20-0 run. Six separate players scored Derby’s first six baskets, including a nine-point stretch from Brown as it opened a 23-4 lead after the first quarter. 

Newton was held to a single point through the remainder of the first half, trailing by 33 points at halftime.

“It felt like the [best] team basketball we had played,” Karsak said. “Nobody was caring about anything other than what they do great.”

Derby now awaits a Feb. 18 date at Salina Central as it looks to tighten its grip on the AVCTL-I race.

DERBY: 23 15 16 16— 70

NEWTON: 4 1 6 4— 15  

LADY PANTHERS: Brown 15, Boettjer 13, Archer 9, Mills 8, Cobbins 8, Svymbersky 7, Nilles 4, Schomp 3, Kennedy 3. 

RAILERS: Gillispie 5, Valle-Ponds 4, Epp 3, Entz 2, Loewen 1.