COVINGTON -- The Newton girls almost pulled themselves out of a major deficit. But their poor play in the first half made it too difficult to do as Westlake was able to hold off a late charge to win a crucial Region 2-AAAAA game 55-51 on Tuesday.
Trailing 53-43 with two minutes left in the game, the Lady Rams (10-3, 3-2) were able to close the gap to 53-51. Unfortunately, Westlake (6-3, 4-1) was able to make two ever-all important free throw shots securing the win.
"Any loss in the region is big. But this game was a measurement for us to see where we are and what we need to work on. But overall I'm pleased with the fight," said Newton girls head coach Tiffani Johnson. "When we're focused we're a tough team to play with. We showed that we can be that team, we just have to be a little more consistent."
The Lady Rams came out playing in lackluster fashion committing turnovers and allowing Westlake to get the rebounds taking several attempts at making their shot. Newton committed 15 turnovers in the first half alone while forcing Westlake to turn the ball over 10 times in the opening 16 minutes.
Offensively, the Newton girls were often only taking one shot before the ball headed the other way. Some of their shots appeared to be panic shots as they were not waiting for a play to develop or trying shots normally seen on NBA video shots. Either way, most of their shots resulted in missed opportunities or blocked shots.
Newton trailed 22-11 at the end of the first period before the Lady Lions extended their lead to 35-19 at the end of the first half.
Both Precious Price and Danyel Forney led the Lady Rams in first-half scoring with six points each.
"The turnovers killed the momentum and got their spirits down. But we were able to come back, correct the mistakes and gain the momentum. We were off in that first half when everybody isn't on the same page," said Johnson.
However, the second showed a different Newton team. One that was energetic, attacked the ball and waited for the play to develop before taking the shot. This time it was Newton going after the loose ball as they out rebounded the Lady Lions 13-4. As a result of their new style of play, the Lady Rams were able to cut Westlake's lead to 10 points, 45-35, to end the third frame.
"We told them the only thing hurting us in the first half was turnovers. If we had cut down on the whole momentum of the game and the situation would have been different. We told them believe in themselves and and correct the mistakes," said Johnson.
Westlake continued to maintain their double-figure advantage throughout most of the fourth period. That was until the final two minutes of the game when Forney and Emili Russ seemed to be the spark the Newton girls needed to almost give Newton the win.
"They did a great job underneath on the boards getting rebounds. They played a great game especially with the height and size that Westlake has," said Johnson.
Forney led the Lady Rams on the scoreboard with 16 points followed by Russ and Price who had 12 each. Westlake's Alisha Turner led all scorers with 19 points.