said we needed to bounce back,” Rasmussen said. “I think we did a good job of bouncing back.”
After an Alcovy bucket gave the lead back to the Tigers, Henry hit back-to-back buckets to give the Rams the lead back. It’s a lead they would not surrender.
Jordan Butts did what he could for Alcovy, scoring 16 points, but the Tigers again had problems down the stretch.
“It was really a game of who was going to impose their will on the other and tempo was a big difference,” Rasmussen said. “We forced several passes in the first half that we didn’t need to and we had more turnovers than we are accustomed to. We let them run and get cheap stuff off of that, but once we settled down, we did a better job of slowing them up as we saw in the last part of the fourth quarter.”
After nearly letting a 16-point lead slip away against North Clayton earlier in the week, the Tigers again turned the ball over several times over the closing minutes of the game.
On the flip side, the Rams made shots when they needed to. Hawkins scored six of points down the stretch.
“I got tired sitting on the bench I think,” Rasmussen said sarcastically. “I think they called some ticky tack fouls and he did a good job of showing he was tired of sitting on the bench. I thought the kids played really well the last four or five minutes. We shut them down defensively and hit some big shots.”
Hawkins wasn’t the only one straddled with foul trouble. Farley sat for much of the second quarter, forcing Rasmussen to go to his bench more than he’s used to.
“I thought our role players stepped up and did a good job,” he said. They made some really good things happen. Demetrius [McCray] made a good pass underneath to Derrick [Henry] and Brandon [Carlton] did well in the first half when Tee [Farley] was in foul trouble with two. We played basically a quarter without Jamon [Hawkins] so I’m glad we had some guys step up and play well.”
In the girls game, the Lady Tigers also struggled down the stretch.
Alcovy led 26-25 at halftime and neither team strayed too far from the other.
Newton closed out the third quarter on an 8-0 run and extended it to 11-0 in the opening minute of the fourth period.
“Turnovers hurt us,” Alcovy coach Kadida Holtzclaw said. “We talk about it time and time again. It’s one of our keys to winning and when you don’t take care of the ball, you don’t give yourself a chance to score.”
Early in the final period, Alcovy’s Tiffany Moody completed a 3-point play to get the Lady Tigers back within four. Moments later, Nikki Moody hit a 3-pointer and the Lady Ti- gers looked poised to recapture the lead.
With Newton leading 45-44, the Lady Rams scored nine straight points to pull away and secure the win.
“It was definitely a good game for us,” Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said. “I knew coming in it was going to be a battle. Any time you have the county rivalry, the intensity is times 10. We had a good practice yesterday and we were able to carry it into today.”
Alcovy had its chances down the stretch; instead, Newton’s Martice Hyman answered for the Lady Rams with five of her 13 points in the final two minutes of the game.
Newcomer Sade Weaver led all scores with 15 while the Moody sisters carried the load for Alcovy. Tiffany Moody poured in 13 points followed by Nikki Moody with 12.
Newton's Jamon Hawkins drains a huge 3-pointer in the fourth quarter of the Rams' 56-45 win over Alcovy.