COVINGTON - Newton cleaned house on the hardwood at home Friday evening after sweeping Greenbrier in a pair of region dandies.
In girls action, the Lady Rams used stifling defense to secure a 51-43 win. Meanwhile, the No. 7 Newton boys prevailed 56-52 after a double-overtime nailbiter.
Newton 51, Greenbrier 43
The Lady Rams (6-8 overall, 3-4 Region 2-AAAAA) limited Greenbrier (9-5, 2-2) to just 3-of-21 from beyond the arc and took advantage of an outstanding third quarter on both the defensive and offensive ends.
"We never thought we were going to lose that game," Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said. "We played hard the whole time. We played like a team that knows how to win tonight, and I think that made the biggest difference."
After a basket by Martice Hyman to cap the first eight minutes of play, Newton led 16-12 entering the second quarter.
The Lady Rams found themselves down 26-21 in the second after a field goal by Ayanna Fairbanks, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
Newton responded with two free throws by KeKe Gaither-Gibbs to give the blue and white a 27-26 lead with two minutes and nine seconds left until halftime.
A jumper by Sade Weaver gave the Lady Rams a 29-26 advantage entering halftime.
Despite surrendering the lead after a bucket by Fairbanks, Newton's Leah Butler tied it at 35.
Qaiserah Shariff's field goal gave the Lady Rams a 37-35 lead midway through the third stanza, a lead they would not relinquish.
In the third quarter alone, Newton scored seven points off nine turnovers. Furthermore, it committed just two turnovers leading to zero points scored.
"(In the third quarter) that's the best defense we've played," Johnson said. "We were focused and everybody was talking. That's the kind of defense we need to compete in the region."
Newton's biggest lead came in the final quarter after a basket by Shariff to make it 48-38.
Shariff finished with a team-high 11 points. Gaither-Gibbs added 10, while Emili Russ had nine points and seven rebounds.
Greenbrier 52 (2OT)
Despite shooting just 24 percent in the first half (5-of-21) and needing eight extra minutes, the seventh-ranked Rams (14-2, 5-1) held on for a thrilling double overtime victory.
Newton's Jamon Hawkins scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half alone, including 14 in the bonus periods.
The Rams took a 21-19 lead entering halftime behind the sharp shooting of Derrick Henry, who scored eight of his 16 points in the initial half.
After a free throw by Greenbrier's Horace Carney with 1:35 left in regulation, the game was knotted at 40.
A last-second heave by Bryan Andrews at halfcourt, which clanged off the rim, sent the game into its first overtime.
After several lead changes in the first four minutes of overtime, Hawkins drilled consecutive 3-pointers, tying it at 47 with 35 ticks left.
Hawkins connected with another 3-pointer to immediately start the second overtime, giving the Rams the lead for good 50-47.
Overall, Newton shot 68 percent from the free-throw line (15-of-22) compared to Greenbrier's 45 percent (5-of-11).
Newton's Tee Farley added nine points on three 3-pointers. Chuck Edwards grabbed eight rebounds and took four charges on the defensive end.
Greenbrier's Bryan Andrews scored a game-high 23 points.
Jason Murdock can be reached at email@example.com.