Price leads Rams past Rockdale

CONYERS -- Whatever Newton needed in Tuesday's region game with Rockdale, Precious Price provided it.

Price had 24 points and eight assists, much of it coming in the second half, as the Rams outlasted Rockdale 62-57.

Newton won its fourth consecutive game and improved to 11-4 and 3-1 in Region 2-AAAAA, while Rockdale lost its first league game and fell to 2-1 and 8-5 overall.

The teams went back and forth during the first five minutes of the final period with Rockdale tying it at 49-49 with 3:14 left in the game as Breanna Richardson hit 1 of 2 free throws, part of her team-high 16 points.

Shay Lawrence's free throw seven seconds later gave Newton the lead for good, and on an in-bounds play, Price assisted on a three-pointer by Deandra Reed (14 points) to give the Rams a 53-49 cushion with three minutes to play.

Rockdale got as close as three points on a number of occasions within the final 1:42, but Price calmly knocked down six consecutive free throws to close out the victory.

Rockdale trailed by 11 at halftime before a big third quarter gave the hosts a one-point lead after three. Sydney Fields was active all quarter, with four points and eight rebounds, and her basket off a pass from fellow freshman Bianca Riley gave Rockdale a 36-35 lead, its first cushion since 2:32 left in the opening quarter.

Price and Rockdale's Jaycie Williams traded three-pointers inside the final 1:16 of the third and the Bulldogs maintained their one-point advantage heading to the final period.

Newton built a first-half lead as large as 12 points, thanks to a 7-0 run as Price assisted on three quick baskets to make it a 25-13 game at the 4:38 mark of the second.

The Bulldogs got as close as 25-18 on a free throw from Shebreta Alexander with a little under three minutes to play, but Price continued to lead the way in the final two minutes.

The senior guard had a nice ball fake that led to a jumper, then added a pair of free throws and a layup for six of her 13 first-half points that sent the Rams into the locker room up 31-20.

Both teams struggled in the early going. Newton got on the scoreboard first on Mercedes Booker's free throws. Rockdale followed with its first points at the 4:28 mark, a steal and field goal by Richardson that tied it at 2-2. After Rockdale grabbed its final lead of the opening half at 9-8 on two free throws from Brianna Patton, Lawrence had a bucket, then her steal led to Price's basket to help Newton close the first up 13-9.

The Rockdale boys played Newton in the second game of the night, which ended too late for this edition.Mitchell's big weekend gets Salem to .500CONYERS -- Salem got its record even this past weekend, and Ayanna Mitchell was a big reason why.

The sophomore averaged 25.5 points and 11.5 rebounds and shot 60 percent (18 of 30) from the field in two Salem victories: 56-31 over Apalachee and 52-51 over Archer. In the Region 8-AAAAA win over Apalachee, Mitchell had 23 points and 10 rebounds, then followed that up with a monster 28-point, 13-rebound performance in the non-league win over Archer.The Salem boys got 26 points from Dedrick Turner to hold off Apalachee 72-67 in the nightcap, improving to 5-2 in region play.

The Salem girls, 7-7 overall and 3-4 in region following a three-game winning streak, and the boys hosted league foe Gainesville late Tuesday.