COVINGTON - Newton's basketball teams continued their dominance over the local schools with a sweep over Eastside on Saturday.
The Lady Rams (6-6, 1-2) won the first game of the double bill 54-43 before the boys closed out the sweep with a 44-34 decision.
Newton 54, Eastside 43
The Lady Eagles (7-6. 1-2) started the game playing at a fast pace. However, the Lady Rams did not let the pressure get them down.
After a lull in the action, both teams started running up and down the court scoring while exchanging the lead.
There were nine lead changes in the first period before Newton ended up on top 20-15.
Eastside's Ashley Crew scored three of the Lady Eagles' first five points to tie the game at 20.
But that was as close as Eastside got to gaining the lead as Newton outscored the Lady Rams to take a 28-21 halftime lead.
"I knew we could be a little more aggressive then we were in the first half. I told them in the second half if we turn it up we'll hold our lead and continue to build on it. We'll have to pick it up a little bit," Newton coach Tiffany Johnson said. "Teams like Eastside will hang around when you don't want them to."
Helping Newton take its lead was free-throw shooting from both teams.
In the first half, Newton was 7 of 8 from the line while Eastside was 2 of 6.
"That made a difference. At halftime we were up by seven points. That had a factor in it. In the second half we weren't as good and it hurt us a little bit," Johnson said.
Newton continued its control over the Lady Eagles, scoring six points before Carmen Robinson scored for Eastside with 4:28 left in the period.
Helping Newton stretch its lead to 40-29 was the Lady Rams getting second and third shots off of offensive rebounds.
Eastside was able to exchange baskets with Newton in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Eagles were never able to close the gap.
The Lady Rams had three players in double-digit scoring while Eastside had one.
Pacing Newton on the board were KeKe Gaither-Gibbs (13), Martice Hyman (11) and Qaiserah Shariff (10).
"For the most part, our leading scorer changes just about every game. From my standpoint it's great because there's no one player that is carrying the load," Johnson said. "It makes us a harder team to defend."
Leading the Lady Rams in scoring were Jjade Cook (11), Raven Williams (8) and J'Quyra Moncus-Blue.
Newton 44, Eastside 34
The boys game started like it was going to be a barn-burner as three of the first four shots came from beyond the arc.
Newton's (11-1, 3-0) Derrick Henry scored both 3-pointers while Neal Latimore drained his shot for Eastside (5-7, 1-2) to make it a 6-3 contest.
From that point, both teams seemed to pull back and wait for better shots as Newton went into the locker room with an 18-13 lead.
"They tried to make me more patient. When you get one team that's always patient and another team that's going to be patient for that particular game, it's a slow game," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "It's not like we play any different than we normally do, they just played different. They played slower.
"I feel like we can play any kind of game, whatever it is it is. We're going to do what we do. We were patient and we waited until we got a good shot. I thought we shot good shots most of the game."
Both teams continued their slow but steady pace in the third quarter until Henry closed the third period scoring the final eight points for the Rams.
"He's a good player. I thought he really stepped up. I thought our team played well," Rasmussen said.
Henry's push gave the Rams a 32-19 advantage heading into the final period.
Henry led all scorers with 19 points, while Jamon Hawkins also scored in double figures for Newton with 12 points.
Although the Eagles outscored Newton in the final frame, 16-12, Eastside was too far behind to close the gap.
"It was an unusual game scoring-wise, but that was just the pace of it. I like the pace. I didn't think it was bad for us at all," Rasmussen said. "We can score 70 or we can score 44. It doesn't matter to me, I just want the W".
Latimore paced the Eagles on the board with 10 points, followed by Cameron Robinson with eight.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.