Tee Farley notched four of his 10 points in the period and Chuck Edwards returned after having his nose bloodied in the second quarter to score four of his eight points and grab three of his nine rebounds while also blocking a shot.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the rout. Stephenson Senior Adrian Coleman (a University of Alabama at Birmingham signee) went to work as the Jaguars went on a run that encompassed the end of the quarter and into the fourth to cut the Ram’s lead to two.
Coleman matched Henry’s 27 points on the night, but it wouldn’t be enough. After a well-placed timeout, the Rams bounced back and took back control of the game.
Junior Jared Mann took charge of the glass, sweeping eight of his 11 rebounds in the fourth quarter.
He just missed a double-double as he scored five of his eight points in the period as well.
When the final horn sounded, Newton had earned a hard-fought 70-65 victory.
The Rams outrebounded Stephenson by a 35-27 margin and outshot the Jaguars 52 percent to 42 percent.
“That says a lot about the heart of our team, to outshoot and outrebound a team on the road,” Rasmussen said.
“Our front court had a good game tonight. Chuck [Edwards], Jared [Mann] and then Windell [Darrington] coming off the bench,” added Rasmussen. “Tee [Farley] stepped up tonight too and did a great job handling the pressure and on defense.”
Farley finished with 10 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals.
But when the dust settled, the night belonged to Henry.
“Derrick has been outstanding and shown great commitment, heart and aggression,” Rasmussen said. “He may only be a sophomore, but he is not intimidated. In fact, I think he’s an intimidator.”
The win boosted the Rams’ record to 7-0 (3-0 Region 2AAAAA). Stephenson fell to 3-3 (1-2). Incidentally the Rams moved up one spot to No. 9 this week in the GAsports.com/ GACA Class AAAAA state coaches poll.
The Newton Lady Rams gave the defending Class-AAAAA state champion and current No. 2 ranked Stephenson Lady Jaguars all they could handle on Tuesday as they battled to the final buzzer before dropping a 55-54 decision.
Stephenson jumped to an early lead as they finished the first quarter up nine at 18-9. The Lady Rams started cutting into that lead in the second quarter.
Junior Leah Butler scored eight of her team-high 18 points in the quarter.
Halftime came with Newton down 30-24.
The Lady Rams had perhaps their best quarter of the young season in the third period as they scored 19 points and tie the score at 43 when the horn sounded.
The lead changed several times in the fourth quarter. The Lady Rams had the ball as time wound down. Looking for the final shot, Newton turned the ball over and watched the win roll painfully out of bounds.
Senior Ke Ke Gaither-Gibbs added 11 points while Freshman Emilie Russ had 14 for the Lady Rams.
Assistant Coach Quinita Morrow, filling in for head coach Tiffani Johnson, had this to say after the game.
“I saw a lot of heart, commitment and teamwork out there tonight,” she said. “They really played as a team, and things look promising for our future.”
The loss dropped Newton to 25 (1-2 Region 2-AAAAA) while Stephenson improved to 5-0 (30).
The Lady Rams will be back in action on Saturday night at Jones County.