Ferrell leads Bulldogs over Newton

CONYERS -- It'd be hard to convince anyone watching the Rockdale boys basketball team for the first time that Connor Ferrell is just a sophomore. Newton was the latest to find out just how far beyond his years Ferrell performs.

The guard scored 21 points to lead four players with at least nine points, and Rockdale's defense played another solid game in a 65-50 victory in Region 2-AAAAAA play Tuesday.

Rockdale, which held its fourth opponent in the last five games fewer than 60 points, moved over .500 for the first time at 8-7 with the win, and also improved to 2-1 in league play. Newton lost its third consecutive game and fell to 10-6 and 1-3.

Newton led for the briefest of moments, 2-0 on Jalen Glover's basket 56 seconds into the game, but that was the last time the Covington school would hold an advantage in the first meeting between the teams since January 2011. Ferrell shot a pair of 3-pointers and Darius Mitchell added one of his own in the opening quarter as Rockdale raced out to a 19-10 lead.

Darryle Tucker, who did a little bit of everything -- 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots -- had a putback early in the second and another after Ferrell drained another 3-pointer with 2:09 to play until halftime, capping a 7-0 run and putting the Bulldogs up 35-17. Tucker got both of his blocks within the final minute of the half.

Newton trailed by 14 at the break, but clawed back in the third. Rashard Cabane, who along with Taylor Hawkins led the Rams with 12 points, had a bucket at the 3:10 mark that sealed a 9-0 run and got Newton to within 40-34. But Ferrell hit a basket, C.J. Wilson had four of his 12 points on two perfect trips to the free throw line and Tucker grabbed an offensive rebound and hit two free throws to give Rockdale a 50-37 lead after three.

Rockdale started strong in the fourth, getting 3-pointers from both LaRonte Parks and Darius Mitchell (nine points), and Tucker's putback gave the Conyers school its largest lead at 58-39 with 6:38 left in the game.

Newton will try to snap its losing streak when it hosts Morrow at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Rockdale continues its play against Newton County schools when Alcovy visits 8:30 p.m. Friday.