Rams lose pair to Stephenson

COVINGTON - Both Newton basketball teams finished their regular season with home losses Friday night against Stephenson. The girls were blown out 65-23, while the boys were unable to overcome a 16-3 Jaguar third quarter and went down 66-52.

The boys (17-8 overall, 8-6 in 2-AAAAA) came out ready to play and took a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter on a Kentrarius Farley 16-footer from the top of the key in the waning seconds.

The two teams traded 3-pointers, and the lead, early in the second quarter as neither team could get any separation.

With the score tied at 19, the Jaguars (17-6, 11-3) ripped off 10 straight points, forcing Newton to burn two timeouts to regroup.

The Rams responded with five unanswered points out of a timeout, but Stephenson nailed a trey as the half came to a close and led 32-24 at the break.

The Jaguars got it rolling in the second half using a suffocating half-court trap to force turnovers and were able to score easy transition baskets.

"We didn't hit in that second quarter, and we used all our timeouts," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "They're a very good basketball team. They shot the ball well. They're long and athletic. We have to shoot a very high percentage and have 11 or fewer turnovers. We didn't do that tonight."

Newton failed to score until the 3:04 mark in the third period, while managing only three points to Stephenson's 16, and the Jaguars led 48-27.

The fourth quarter looked like a pick-up game as Newton scored 25 points, just two less than in the previous three quarters combined, but it didn't matter as Stephenson had the game well in hand.

Jamon Hawkins scored 12 to top the Rams, while Tevin Bradley added 11.

In the girl's game, not much went right for the Lady Rams (7-17, 3-11) as Stephenson (21-3, 12-2) forced 28 turnovers and physically overpowered coach Tiffani Johnson's team all night.

"They're a very quick team, and a very aggressive team," Johnson said. "They're taller, stronger; they're just tougher for us."

Stephenson came into the game No. 1 in Region 2-AAAAA, and ranked No. 4 in the state, and it showed. The Lady Jaguars raced out to a 17-6 lead and never looked back.

The Lady Rams trailed 29-8 at halftime as they shot 1-for-15 in the first half.

It didn't get much better for Newton in the second half as Stephenson forced nine turnovers in the period and led by 35 at the going into the final frame.

The Lady Rams never laid down, but Stephenson was just too strong as they won going away.

Shay Marks led the way for Newton with eight points while Leah Butler, Lauren Wilkins and Qaiserah Shariff each had five points apiece.