COVINGTON -- Newton's boys basketball team turned things around in the second half, scoring 37 points and giving the Rams an 11-point win over Luella on Tuesday.
The win gave Newton (11-5 overall, 4-3 in Region 2-AAAAA) sole possession of fourth place in the region with a big game coming up on Friday against PrepCountry.com/GACA Class AAAAA No. 7-ranked M.L. King.
"That was a battle of two teams tied for fourth. Now we're 4-3 and they're 3-4, so that was a big one," said Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen.
Trailing 14-11 to end the first period, Newton made a small charge in the second quarter to take a 21-20 halftime lead. The Rams could have led by more but poor free throw shooting and missed opportunities from the field kept Luella (13-5, 3-4) within striking distance.
One player struggling from the line in the first half was Stephen Croone, who led all scorers with 22 points.
"He had a great second half," said Rasmussen about Croone. "He had seven (points) in the first half and 15 in the second. He made his free throws there; he struggled in the first half."
After going 1-for-4 shooting free throws in the first half, Croone lit it up in the second, making 7-of-8.
The Lions were always within a basket or two from taking the lead until late in the fourth, when Newton outscored Luella 8-2 to take a 50-43 lead.
"It's a war every night. We're happy to beat them by 11; that's a good performance," Rasmussen said. "We struggled without Shane (Henry) but he sucked it up. He had a busted lip and fought through it."
Also having a big game against Luella was Rashard Cabane, who scored 14 points.
Leading the Lions in scoring with 13 and 11 points were Antonio Brodie and Temarcus Blanton.