Newton hopes win will spark turnaround

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- After losing their last three games, two in overtime, the Newton boys have hopefully turned it around with a 71-55 win over Walnut Grove on Saturday.

"Saturday night was a great shooting night for us, as we took care of the ball and played well in all facets of the game. We ended the game with only nine turnovers, shot 60 percent for the game and outrebounded the home team 40-31," Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said.

"This should give us some momentum going into Tuesday night when we take on Stephenson, who is coming off their first win of the season with a 57-55 home win over East Coweta."

The Rams (2-3 overall, 0-2 in Region 2-AAAAA) look to get their first region win of the season against a Jaguars team they have beaten six straight times, including last year's region championship game victory.

Helping the Rams keep their momentum going was their 50 percent shooting from 3-point range as they were 4-for-8.

The Rams were able to spread the ball well as they had three players in double-digit scoring. Stephen Croone led the Rams with a game-high 24 points followed by Justin Thompson with 16 points and Shane Henry with 12 points. Henry's 12 points, along with his 15 rebounds, gave the senior his third straight double-double.

"It felt good to still be able to help our team win, when a few hours earlier I wasn't sure if I could even go to the game. Coach (Rasmussen) made sure I got hydrated before the game and I just went out there and played as hard as I could," Henry said, who turned 18 on game day. "Even though I was weak and didn't even get to have any of my own birthday cake, it still ended up being a great birthday since we got a convincing win on the road."

Newton out-shot its opponent making 60 percent of its shots compared to a mere 33 percent for Walnut Grove.

Newton ended the first quarter with an 18-15 lead and barely held on to the lead at the half winning by a single point, 31-30.

The Rams turned up the heat in the third frame before exploding with 27 points in the final quarter, including 20 points from Croone, for the 16-point win.

"We know we are six points away from being 5-0, as we have lost three games that could have gone either way," Rasmussen said. "We believe these close games will serve us well in the long run. We have a tough schedule and we play a lot of teams with length and athleticism, so we have to play with fundamentals and discipline to give ourselves a chance to succeed. We had been struggling to take care of the ball and run an offense and I feel like we got back on track in those two areas (Saturday)night."