Butts leads Newton past Rockdale in all-star game

COVINGTON - Newton County's basketball programs answered the question of who's better, beating Rockdale County 113-88 in the inaugural Newton-Rockdale Senior All-Star basketball game on Thursday at Newton.

"People have always wondered what it would be like if you took all the mature players from the county and put them together," Newton County coach Rick Rasmussen said. "They did a real nice job."

Alcovy's Jordan Butts led all scorers with 22 points, while Newton's Demetrius McCray had the only double-double, scoring 14 points and getting 12 rebounds.

Rockdale County looked like it would runaway with the game as it took a 12-5 lead early in the contest.

That was before Newton County flipped the switch and charged back, outscoring Rockdale County 19-3 to take a 24-15 lead.

"I'll tell you what, Newton didn't miss many shots. A couple of their coaches said their guys hadn't made that many shots all year," Rockdale County coach Alvin Williams said. "Their 12 guys are very, very talented, and they didn't have much of a drop off from the starting group to their second team. I'm giving all the credit to them."

Newton County extended its lead to 14 points, 37-23, late in the first half before Rockdale started sinking its shots.

Rockdale closed the gap to 50-45 before Newton went on a 4-2 run to end the half with a 54-47 lead.

"You can't read much from the first few minutes of a game, and we're not ones to panic. (Rockdale) hit a few shots early then they got to the point where they settled for shots. I thought we got better quality shots over the course of the game that made a difference," Rasmussen said.

Newton continued to dominate the second half behind the play of Eastside's Cameron Robinson and Butts.

Robinson ended the game with 18 points, all in the second half, including five 3-pointers while Butts scored 17 of his points in the second period.

"We decided late to start Cameron, and he's a scorer. We knew that they both had the ability to score and we hoped that once would get going," Rasmussen said. "Jordan is a tough competitor. He got good shots and I felt he had the ability to do that."

Also scoring in double figures for Newton County were Eastside's Neal Latimore (12), Newton's Jamon Hawkins (16) and Alcovy's Julian Butts (13).

"A lot of the kids had a lot of good memories of playing in our gym, and we just enjoyed it," Rasmussen said.

Scoring double digits for Rockdale County were Heritage's Shakeem Mitchell (20) and Rockdale's Jonathan Gissentanner (17) and Julius Giles (11).

"For the amount of time we spent practicing after we decided to make it an annual event, it was super this time," Williams said. "But it's going to get better and better. I enjoyed it, I think it's great for our kids and our community."

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