COVINGTON -- The Lady Rams started out strong and got stronger in its 58-24 win over Lovejoy while the Wildcats were able to hold off a Newton surge to hand the Rams their first loss of the season with a 43-38 decision on Tuesday.BoysNewton (4-1 overall, 1-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) scored the first basket of the game as Jalen Glover took the tipoff but the Wildcats (3-2, 1-0) responded by going on a 14-0 run. The Rams may have taken three steps forward and two steps back but they slowly gained ground. Newton fought back to tie the game at 30 with 6:30 left in the game on a Rashard Cabane basket before a 3-pointer by Glover closed the gap to two points.
"When we fought back and tied it, I thought we showed a lot of grit and perseverance to do that," Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. "It just came down to putting the ball in the net. It seemed like there was a lid on it early. We missed a lot of shots in the inside."
The Rams were able to get a lead before both teams traded shots and the lead. But Newton was forced to foul Lovejoy, sending it to the line.
"With 3:26, it was tied 35-all. Then they outscored us from there," Rasmussen said. "We had a lot of good looks with a lot of chances to take the lead. They had a one-and-one and missed and got the rebound, that was the ball game. We had them four to three and they got it."
Cabane paced the Rams on the scoreboard with eight points with Taylor Hawkins, Rodarius Mitchell and Kishon Rogers scoring seven points each.
The Rams only had 14 free throws as a team, making six of them.
"We missed some free throws and in any close ball game it comes down to that," Rasmussen said. "We're a good basketball team but we're trying to be a great one. The difference is the little things. We didn't make enough plays."GirlsAfter taking a two-point lead to end the first quarter, the Lady Rams (3-2, 1-1) turned up the presure as well as the score. Newton's defense forced the Lady Wildcats (0-1, 0-1) to turn the ball over 36 times. Newton outscored Lovejoy 24-10 in the second quarter to take a 38-18 lead.
"We started putting a little more pressure on them and we turned up our energy on defense so that our defense could help our offense," Lady Rams head coach Tiffani Johnson said. "We did a good job of keeping our energy up and staying hungry and not getting complacent. We were able to cause a lot of turnovers and score off them. That helped us out a lot."
Newton's Precious Price, who led all scorers with 21 points, had 16 points in the first half with Deandra Reed scoring seven.
Newton extended its lead to 50-19 in the first three minutes of the second half before the starters were pulled, giving the bench players some playing time.
"We focused more on slowing down and not being in such a rush," Johnson said. "We worked on some things which changed our game plan and that caused some of the drought."
Joining Price in double-figure scoring was Cynteria Langhorne with 10 points. Other than Lovejoy's Mariah Gray, who had 10 points, Newton's defense held four scorers to two points and three players to three.
"We played team defense," Johnson said. "Everybody was rotating the same time and everybody was where they were supposed to be."