Newton boys capture 10th win of year

COVINGTON - Jamon Hawkins had a career-high game and the Newton boys produced their biggest single-quarter output of the season to propel the Rams past Luella 72-56 on Saturday.

In the girls game, the Lady Rams were unable to get past an aggressive Luella team as they collapsed to the pressure in their 56-40 loss.

Hawkins scored a career-high 27 points while the boys poured in 32 points in the fourth quarter to secure a win and go 10-3 overall and 3-2 in Region 2-AAAAA play.

"This group really plays well together and they have great attitudes," Newton boys coach Rick Rasmussen said. "We are very proud of these guys for the way they represent our school."

Montrell Grimes and Demetrius McCray also played key roles in the win, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively.

"Demetrius really played well for us off the bench. He has a lot of ability and will only get better with time," Rasmussen said. "Montrell had another solid game for us. He had 12 points, two assists, seven rebounds, a block and a monster dunk on the break in the fourth quarter."

After missing its first four shots, Newton got on the board first with a pair of Tevin Bradley free throws.

Newton continued to struggle from the field, shooting just over 30 percent. But the Rams' defense kept the Lions (3-8, 1-4) from taking advantage of the situation.

The Lions led 13-12 to start the second quarter but trailed 24-22 at the half.

"Luella shot 50 percent in the first half, so to still be up two was a tribute to our defense," Rasmussen said.

Both teams went back and forth in the third frame. Newton ended the peroid wth a 40-37 lead.

"I thought we showed a lot of heart and toughness to come back and play well. We challenged the team to respond and come back strong and they did," Rasmussen said. "It was good to be at home. We hadn't been at home since before the break."

On Friday, the Newton boys lost to M.L. King 70-57.

"I thought our team responded well after coming off the loss," Rasmussen said. "They played with confidence and it made all the difference in the world. We are a much better team when we play with confidence."

Luella girls 56, Newton girls 40

Trying to continue to build on the momentum of their 45-37 win over M.L. King on Friday, the Lady Rams rallied from a 6-0 deficit to take a 9-8 lead midway through the first period.

Newton lost the lead early in the second period as Luella's pressure caused five turnovers. Despite struggling to put points on the board, the Lady Rams trailed only 25-22 at the half.

"Most of the week I've been talking about starting the game with intensity; starting the game on how you want to finish," Newton girls coach Tiffani Johnson said. "I thought it sunk in their head. We started out being aggressive, making shots."

Shay Marks had almost half of Newton's points, scoring 11 of her game-high 19 in the first half.

"Shay is one of those players that regardless of the situation or the time on the clock, she's going to go 120 percent," Johnson said. "She's been doing real good all season and I hope she keeps it up."

Luella's pressure defense continued to take its toll. The Lady Lions jumped out to a 46-32 lead to start the fourth quarter on the heels of a 14-1 run.

Even though Newton kept pace with Luella in the final period, it was unable to make a comeback.

"It was hard for us to fight back once they gained that lead," Johnson said. "We just lost it and weren't able to get it back."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.