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Big picture: Alex Gross isn’t sure how many more games like Thursday’s she can take.

North Newton’s head girls basketball coach says that only half-jokingly.

Gavit trailed by as many as 19 late in the first half before rallying and nearly tying the score; however, the Gladiators suffered a 57-52 loss on their home court to the Spartans.

North Newton dominated the first half and Gavit trailed by 16 points going into the break. But the script flipped in the early stages of the second half when Gavit started heating up beyond the arc. The Gladiators connected on seven of their nine 3-pointers after halftime to help climb within one point of the Spartans with just 108 seconds left.

But they never got any closer.

North Newton sophomore guard Mackendzie Dreshbaugh forced a critical turnover that turned into a foul and two free throws to put the Spartans up by three points with 84 seconds left. Gavit gave itself a chance to tie but failed to convert.

Junior forward Jamie Will gave Newton the breathing room it needed when she scored a layup with 52.1 seconds left to put the Spartans up two possessions.

Gavit player of the game: Senior forward Darlisha Reed – Despite getting doubled the entirety of the game, the state’s leading rebounder scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the losing effort.

Turning point: North Newton’s defense stepped up late and didn’t allow a point in the final 108 seconds.

Beyond the box score: After winning six straight games, Gavit has now lost two in a row by a total of seven points.

Up next: Gavit (9-7, 2-1) at Clark (2-14, 0-2), 7 p.m. Tuesday