play when it mattered most.
The senior shooting guard took the ball from the top of the key, down the lane and hit Henry who cut to the basket when the defense bit on the drive.
“He [Hawkins] is our quickest guy and we let him penetrate there and he’s very unselfish,” Rasmussen said. “Right now he’s averaging eight assists per game and he got one right there. That was a big one.”
With the win, the Rams (5-0, 10 Region 2-AAAAA) cracked the top-10 in this week’s GaSports. com/GACA Coaches Poll.
Early on it looked as if M.L. King was going to run away and hide. The Lions jumped out to an early 9-3 but the Rams stormed back with a 9-3 run of their own to tie the game at 12.
M.L. King’s athleticism appeared to be more than the Rams could handle. The Lions hit the offensive glass hard in the first few minutes to build its lead, but Newton stayed within itself and weathered the initial storm before settling in.
“Last year we were down 9-0 at Douglass and won; so early on, it doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Rasmussen said. “We don’t ever panic. We try to stay with what we do and we just trust that it will work and we did enough things down the stretch so we’ll take it.”
The Lions led 16-14 after one period of play but Newton outscored them in the second period and the two teams went to the locker room at halftime tied 2727.
“We didn’t shoot it particularly well I thought and that’s probably why it was so neck-and-neck,” Rasmussen said. “But I thought we scrapped, and again, they [M.L. King] are long and athletic and have more size like half the teams in our region do and we just have to scrap and be better at the little things.”
The Lions used a 5-0 run in the closing minutes of the third quar- ter to take a 5-point lead heading into the final stanza.
Farley hit a 3-pointer in the opening moments of the fourth and Newton cut it to 40-38 with seven minutes to play. Farley scored all of his seven points down the stretch.
“I thought we made a lot of good plays,” added Rasmussen. “Our pressure gave them some trouble. We trapped on the wing some and we got some break out layups there and we did just enough to keep it close and when you’re at home and keep it close, you have a good chance.”
Henry led the way for Newton with 19 points while Hawkins chipped in with 11.
“They are well-coached and they are long and athletic,” Rasmussen said. “I’m not surprised that it was a good ballgame.”