STONE MOUNTAIN - The Newton boys basketball season came to an end Tuesday night as they lost to Redan 37-31 in the Region 2-AAAAA tournament at Stephenson High School.
The Lady Rams didn't fare any better in their matchup against Stephenson, falling 58-11 to the Lady Jaguars.
In the boys game, the Rams scored a season-low 10 points in the second half and went nearly six minutes between buckets in the fourth quarter alone.
In a sign of what was to come, Newton started out slowly and didn't score its first field goal until the 5:02 mark of the first quarter. Jamon Hawkins' 3-pointer with a little less than four minutes to go in the period sparked an 8-2 Newton run, and the Rams trailed by one going into the second.
Hawkins heated up in the second quarter, hitting three treys, the second of which gave Newton its first lead at 18-15 with 3:45 left in the period. The Rams trailed 22-21 at halftime.
Neither team was able to pull away in the third quarter as they swapped the lead back and forth over the first four minutes. Newton only managed six points in the quarter, while Redan was only able to muster eight, and the Raiders led 30-27 heading into the final frame.
Up 32-29, Redan went to a four corners offense with 4:24 to go in the game, in hopes of chewing up the clock. It worked as the Raiders burned nearly three minutes before hitting a layup to go up by five.
After two Raider free throws, Ram forward Tevin Bradley answered with a nice drive to the basket with 42 seconds remaining. But the Rams weren't able to close the gap any more.
The Rams shot just 2 of 8 in the fourth quarter and 4-for-17 overall in the second half.
"It just came down to shooting the ball," said Newton coach Rick Rasmussen. "We just didn't shoot the ball well. We had opportunities and we didn't hit. I mean, you have to hit shots. We were 2-for-8 in the fourth quarter. Twenty-five percent is just not going to get it done. "
Newton started the season 16-4, but late-season injuries and a recent flu bug plagued the Rams, and they stumbled into the playoffs losing four of five.
Despite the disappointing loss, Rasmussen was proud of his team's chemistry throughout the year and feels good about the future.
"This team has had a great attitude," he said. "It's the best attitude we've had the last three years. They've worked hard and done everything we've asked them, and I really hate for it to end this way because I thought our kids deserved better. But it's been a great group of guys to coach, and I look forward to a group next year and wish our seniors the best of luck in the future."
Hawkins led the way for Newton with 16 points, while Montrell Grimes added 10.
In the girls' game, the Lady Rams ran into a buzzsaw in a Stephenson team that looks poised to make a serious run in the state tournament.
The Lady Jaguars raced out to a 16-1 lead in the first quarter and led 36-6 at halftime.
It didn't get any better in the second half as Newton managed only five points over the final two quarters.
Newton scored only one field goal in the game and was never able to sustain any kind of offensive rhythm.
Even though the Lady Rams ended the season on a down note, head coach Tiffani Johnson felt good about her team.
"The girls knew from the other two games against them that it was going to be tough," she said. "Any season is going to have its high points and low points. I think, as far as the girls go, I had a good group of girls with a lot of good personalities. It's hard to let go of the seniors, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to the future."