COVINGTON — Newton’s D.J. Hill almost had an incredible night against Lovejoy as he flirted with a triple-double in Newton’s 50-34 win on Friday.
The win moved the Rams (14-4 overall, 5-2 Region 2-AAAAAA) to second place in the region standings behind Luella who is a perfect 6-0 in region play.
While Hill’s play fell short of hitting a triple-double scoring nine points, seven assists and seven rebounds plus three steals, his true worth came as the on-court leader of the team.
“He had a great game,” Newton boys head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “His leadership on the court was about as good as its been.”
However, it was the lights-out shooting of Jalen Glover that helped the Rams beat the taller Wildcats (10-4, 4-2) team.
“Jalen had a hot shooting game. He hit his opening 3-pointer and never looked back,” Rasmussen said. They tried to pile up on him but it didn’t work. He had a great shooting game scoring 21 points and four rebounds.”
Making a difference from the first time they played where Lovejoy won the game 56-48 and this time was the defense. The Rams pressured Lovejoy the entire time playing a half-court defense while never pressing the Wildcats.
“We didn’t want to press them because I didn’t want to get them going in the open floor. It thought it was our best execution games of the year,” Rasmussen said. “We took them away from doing what they wanted. We didn’t to let them run and use their length and athleticism. We fought really hard on the board. In fact, we outrebounded them 23-22 which was a big surprise. Our half-court defense, we executed the game plan as well as any game we’ve played.”
Newton’s fundamental-defensive play also extended to their offense where the Rams only had four turnovers.
The Rams finished the first quarter with a two-point, 10-8, lead before going into the locker room with a 23-16 advantage. But it was in the third quarter which helped the Rams put the game out of reach by scoring 19 points to Lovejoy’s five.
“We shell shocked them,” Rasmussen said. “They tried to use their different defense’s but whatever they threw at us, our kids handled and then Lovejoy didn’t know what to do.
“Keion Sims, who had been nursing an ankle injury, had 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks.”
The Newton girls (12-6, 7-0) remained perfect and in first place in region play with their 50-34 win over the Lady Wildcats (5-10, 1-5).
In other games, Eastside split their trip to Chestatee as the girls lost 50-39 while the boys won the nightcap 55-38.