Rams split at Luella in region match-up

LOCUST GROVE — It took two overtime periods before the Newton came away with a 66-59 win over Luella while the boys lost a close one dropping a 73-67 game to the Lions on Friday in a Region 2-AAAAAA match.

The Lady Rams (8-5, 4-0) had a hard time scoring but quickly started finding the bottom of the net building a 29-19 lead late in the first half. But the Luella (8-7, 2-1) team started getting their touch tying the game at 36 on their final shot of the third period.

They were able to take a four-point lead, 51-48 in the final two minutes of the game before the Lady Rams tied the game to finish the game in regulation tied at 52.

Newton had plenty of chances to win the game in regulation except they missed too many layups and quite a few opportunities.

“I wish I knew what was causing it so it could correct it instantly. It’s just one of those things. But that definitely hurt us,” Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson said. “We lost focus and let them back in the game. Once you let someone back in a game and they think they have a chance they start playing real hard so we had to play real hard.”

It seemed as if neither team wanted to win as turnovers and missed layups kept the overtime period scoreless with two minutes left. But in the second overtime period, Newton’s Sonia Forney, who finished the game with 15 points, gave the Lady Rams a 61-57 lead with a pair of free throws and a basket.

Newton extended their lead to 64-57 before Sade Jacobs and Brianna Moore each split a pair of free-throws making it 66-57. Even though the Lady Lions tried, it was too little too late.

“We always thought we could win the game so once we got that lead and we were able to breath a little bit our girls felt a little more comfortable and less nervous,” Johnson said. “They really banded together and got control of the game and were able to finish it out.”

In the boys game, the Rams (10-3, 2-2) came out a little tentative having to be careful not to get blocked by 7-foot Doral Moore. Trailing 22-18 after the first half, the Lions (6-7, 3-0) started finding the basket taking a 51-40 lead. However, it wasn’t Moore, who had eight points, or South Carolina bound TeMarcus Blanton, who had 10 points, that downed the Rams. It was A.J. Banton and Kylin Terrell who had 17 and 24 points.

“We got surprised by their guard play. I thought that was the difference in the game,” Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “The hit 3s that we couldn’t afford because we were guarding a 7-footer.”

Newton put themselves in a situation to win behind Jalen Golver’s six, 3-point shots. But Luella’s second-half shooting would not allow the Rams to close the gap.

“They hardly missed in the second half period,” Rasmussen said. “They had the best offensive shooting game against us that they have ever had and we still were in it until the end.”

The Lions were 6-for-8 from beyond the arc and were 17-for-21 from the field .

Even though the Rams shot a respectable 41 percent from the field, 9-for-22 from 3-point range. Also keeping the Rams in the game was that they had 10 fewer turnovers, nine to 19, than Luella.

Glover led all shooters with 25 points while D.J. Hill with 14 points for the Rams and Darvin Jones finished with 13.