COVINGTON — The Newton boys led from the beginning while the Lady Rams had to come back from behind as the two squads swept Rockdale at home for a big Region 2-AAAAAA win on Wednesday.
The Rams (12-3, 3-2) topped the Bulldogs (4-10, 1-3) while a big second half propelled the Newton girls (9-6, 5-0) to a 56-45 win over the Rockdale girls (5-5, 2-2).
A big dunk by Keion Sims in the first quarter electrified the home crowd as the Rams used that momentum to stay on top for the game.
One weakness that the Rams have is rebounding because of their size. However, they were able to use their quickness outrebound the Bulldogs 40-33.
Turnovers also played a big part in Newton’s win as they forced Rockdale to turn the ball over 22 times while Newton only had seven turnovers.
“They threw some different traps and pressures at us and I thought we did a good job of handling it,” Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “We got a lot more shots overall. We shots 71 shots. We only made 38 percent but we had 71 shots and they were in the 50s. That’s a big difference.”
Newton’s offense was firing on all cylinders as three players were in double figures. D.J. Hill had 19 points followed by Taylor Hawkins with 11 and Sims with 12. But more important was their unselfishness as Hawkins had four assists and Hill had six assists.
Newton’s defense was just as potent as their offense. Rockdale’s top season scorer Conner Ferrell, who has been averaging 23 points a game, was held to five points.
“Taylor was all over him like a cheap suit,” Rasmussen said. “He was 3-for-4 from the free-throw line and was 1-for-10 from the field. Taylor was just all over him. He did a great job on him and that was a big part of the game.”
One player which the Rams had a hard time stopping was Darryl Tucker who was able to use his height to his advantage scoring 16 points.
“We had trouble slowing up the big kid,” Rasmussen said. “He had a good game against us with 16 points and eight or nine rebounds. He hurt us inside but that’s our weakest spot. But it was a good win for us and a fun game.”
The Lady Bulldogs took advantage of Newton early as the Lady Rams starters sat on the bench for much of the first half.
Rockdale jumped out to a six-point, 12-6, lead in the first quarter. Even though the Lady Rams closed the gap to end the opening half, they still trailed 28-24.
“I started my young girls so that was one reason, probably the main reason we started off so slow,” Newton girls head coach Tiffani Johnson said. “I was trying to get five players that were ready to go. I wanted the five players that really worked the hardest. That’s what I want all the time.”
However, the second half belonged to the Lady Rams as they outscored Rockdale 32-17 for the win with Cynteria Langhorne leading the way.
Langhorne had a double-double scoring 16 points while bringing down 17 rebounds. Also having a big game were Precious Price who had 10 points and Mercedes Booker who scored eight points while grabbing 11 rebounds.
“She had an amazing game,” Johnson said of Langhorne. “That’s the best game I’ve seen her play since she’s been here. She was active, all over the boards, just getting energetic and doing everything that we asked her to do. She played almost the perfect game.”