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Douglass sends Newton home with pair of losses

ATLANTA - Both Newton basketball teams came close to getting out of Douglass' gym with wins Tuesday night, but, in the end, they were unable to top the Astros.

The Lady Rams fell to Douglass 47-41, while the Newton boys lost by one point, 57-56, on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

BOYS

Douglass 57, Newton 56

If the Rams could have played two first halves, the final outcome might have been different.

Newton held a 29-15 lead to end the first half before Douglass' size began taking over the game as the Astros' Willie Waters scored 22 of his game-high 28 points in the second half.

The Rams were unable to adjust in the second half to the Astros' pressure.

"We struggled with their pressure and had several breakdowns in decision-making to let them back in the game," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said.

Douglass cut Newton's lead from 14 points at the end of the half to 41-37 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Rams held onto a slight four-point lead with two minutes remaining before two treys gave the Astros the win as time expired.

"It was a disappointing game from a discipline standpoint," Rasmussen said. "Uncharacteristically, our kids panicked and made poor choices with the ball, which led to their comeback. We'll have to play much better in all aspects of the game to give ourselves a chance Friday (against) Redan."

GIRLS

Douglass 47, Newton 41

The Lady Rams found themselves in a shootout against Douglass in the first period.

Newton's Sade Weaver, with her aggressive play and rebounding, had a big first quarter with eight points to end the quarter tied at 16.

Even though the second frame started the same way, it did not end similarly for the Lady Rams as Douglass' Raven Buchanan scored eight straight points to give the Lady Astros a 31-20 halftime lead.

"We missed a couple of defensive assignments and box-outs that led to a Douglass run," Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said.

The third quarter was much like the second where Newton missed a lot of shots under the basket and had a couple of turnovers that kept the Lady Rams from cutting into the lead.

Down 36-26 to start the fourth quarter, the Lady Rams began putting things together to gain ground on the Lady Astros.

"Qaiserah Shariff did a great defensive job in the fourth quarter on Douglass' star guard Khaalidah Miller, keeping her from making a field goal in the forth quarter," Johnson said. "Emili Russ picked up the scoring for the Lady Rams in the fourth quarter with nine points in the period."

While Newton was able to hit its shots from the field, missed free throws kept the Lady Rams from taking the lead.

"We missed a couple of crucial free throws. We were able to cut the lead to 40-43 late in the fourth quarter but had to foul. Unfortunately, we fouled their star guard, Miller, who went 6-for-6 to keep the game out of reach," Johnson said. "We played hard, but the game got away due to a couple of mental mistakes during the game."

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