Newton wins two games over Lithonia

COVINGTON - Both the Newton boys and girls basketball teams registered big region wins over Lithonia on Friday night.

The girls soundly defeated the Lady Bulldogs 49-36, while the boys held on for a 57-48 win in their game.

The Lady Rams shared the ball well and got contributions from everyone who played.

"We're at our best when a couple of different people are involved and in double figures," said coach Tiffani Johnson. "We watched film and they saw some things. We had two really good practices and I think it carried over to the game."

The game got physical in the second half in which Johnson received a technical foul for what she felt was a bad call.

"We had to fight the refs a little bit," Johnson said. "They got to me, but I'm glad they didn't get to them. I voiced my opinion maybe a little too much and they got me."

But it didn't matter, as the Lady Rams were the better team on this night.

Shay Marks led the way for Newton with 12 points while KeKe Gaither, Chocanna Marks and Qaiserah Shariff all finished with eight.

The Newton boys had to hold on in their game as coach Rick Rasmussen's team had a hard time taking care of the ball all night

Newton started off well, building a solid 16-6 lead in the first quarter.

But the Rams uncharacteristically turned the ball over seven times in the first half.

"That was a very unimpressive victory," said Rasmussen. "They (Lithonia) were really sloppy and traveled about every time they got the ball, and we got the slops, too. We were just really sloppy and disappointing. It was an ugly win."

Down by 16 at halftime, Lithonia started the third quarter in a full-court trap with hopes of causing the normally sure handed Ram team to turn the ball over, and it worked.

The Rams turned the ball over on three straight possessions to begin the period and Lithonia made them pay.

The Bulldogs went on a 12-4 to start the quarter, but after two timeouts, the Rams regained their composure and were able to reassume control of the game.

But still, with Newton up 45-31 at the start of the fourth quarter, Lithonia continued to attack the basket and forced the Rams to make plays on both ends of the court.

"We just never really got in rhythm offensively," Rasmussen said. "We got out of character and sort of lost our roles and the game was just extremely sloppy."

Lithonia cut Newton's lead to eight at 54-46 midway through the fourth quarter, but Montrell Grimes came up big for the Rams, scoring six of his game-high 14 points over the final three minutes.

Still, a feisty Lithonia team refused to quit and cut the deficit down to six with 29.6 seconds to play, but that was as close as they would get.

With time running out, Grimes picked his defender at half-court and sent home a reverse dunk as time expired, putting an exclamation point on a lackluster, yet region win for the Rams.

"You'll take the win, especially in the region," Rasmussen said. "You just have to forget about it, and I don't think we'll have that many turnovers again the next three years, but it's one of those we'll take."

Sean Monk and Grimes both scored 14 points apiece followed by Kentarius Farley (8) and Tevin Bradley (6).