COVINGTON — The Newton boys basketball team never looked back after an early run against Salem while the Lady Seminoles were constantly looking over their shoulder as the Newton girls came after them time and time again in Friday’s doubleheader at Rams Arena.
But in the end the Salem girls were able to hold them off to get the 57-55 win while the Rams cruised to an easy 72-45 win.
“It was a great environment and a great crowd,” Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “The student section was riled up and excited. I thought it was rocking, it was great.”
Salem 57, Newton 55
The Lady Seminoles (2-1) and the Lady Rams (1-2 overall, 1-0 Region 2-AAAAAA) played in mini-scoring spurts with Salem starting first jumping out to a 9-2 lead. But Newton could always came back to close the gap to one point but they were never able to tie the game or take over the lead.
“We knew we were playing a really good team and that’s what happens,” Salem head coach Rochone Dilligard said. “We’re going to make a run and they’re going to make a run. I told the kids we had to withstand the run, they can’t lose their confidence because they come at you. It’s just like they weren’t going to lose their confidence because we go up.”
Newton came back after being down by five or more points three times.
The first scoring spread was closed by a 3-pointer by Newton’s Precious Price to make it 11-10. The basket also put Price over 1,000 points in her career.
“She did really well and came ready to play I could tell during warm up that she was focused,” Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson said.
Price finished the game with five 3-points scoring 20 points for the night.
Hurting the Lady Rams, who played their third game in four nights, was their inability to make free-throws going 5-for-12 including missing all three attempts in the third quarter.
“I think it’s doing a little wear and tear both physically and mentally. But I want to heat on them now so that when region tournament and the state playoffs come and we’re playing every two or three days we’ll be ready for it,” Johnson said.
Salem counted heavily on their scorers juniors Shay Tarver and Ayanna Mitchell. Eleven of Tarver’s 13 points came in the first half while Mitchell led all scorers with 22 points.
“She can do so many things and create so many problems,” Dilligard said of Mitchell. “But one of the best things she does is attack the ball off the glass.”
Newton 72, Salem 45
After going back and forth through the midway point in the first period, Newton (2-0, 1-0) scored seven times consecutively to take a 26-10 lead and never looked back.
“We just came out with guns blazing,” Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “It didn’t take long then all of a sudden we were up.”
Newton took care of the ball in the first half turning the ball over three times in the first while forcing Salem (1-1) to give the ball back to the Rams 15 times.
“We shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half,” Rasmussen said. “We were back in transition not letting them run. I though our hands were really active in the passing lanes and had some great anticipation plays. Our team was very hungry.”
The second half much much like the first half as Newton’s lead never got below 15 points.
Newton had three players in double-digit scoring including Tarik Rogers who had 15 points and four charges.
“He’s really gotten better and really works hard in practice,” Rasmussen said of his junior. “He took four charges and that’s gets you fired up and his jumper is coming along. He’s really stepped up.
Also scoring in double figures were D.J. Hill (19) and Taylor Hawkins (13) with Jalen Glover adding eight points to Newton’s tally.
Salem’s one bright spot came in the form of junior Austin Samuel who led the Seminoles with 18 points.