Newton boys top New­nan, stay in first

The Covington News - - Sports - Josh Briggs Sports Edi­tor

If Newton bas­ket­ball coach Rick Ras­mussen ever gets tired of teach­ing Bri­tish lit­er­a­ture, he may have a fu­ture in chem­istry. The Rams re­mained un­de­feated in re­gion play af­ter Fri­day's 4936 win over New­nan de­spite trot­ting out yet an­other new start­ing lineup.

The two con­stants — Der­rick Henry and Alex Ordu — com­bined for 29 of Newton's 49 points. Henry scored 13 points in the first half and 21 for the game.

"It was an­other one of these, we didn't play great but we got the job done, games," Ras­mussen said. "It's kind of be­com­ing a habit. Our ro­ta­tion con­tin­ues to change. We've never had to ro­tate it so much. We've had guys who weren't here or maybe late or acted like knuck­le­heads, so I've had to churn that thing. Der­rick and Alex are pretty con­sis­tent but af­ter that I just try to find three guys who want to join them."

Newton (10-2, 4-0 Re­gion 2-AAAAA) trailed 7-1 un­til Henry's bucket with two min­utes left to play in the first quar­ter. The Rams tied it at 7-7 on Stephen Croone's bucket a minute later and fin­ished the quar­ter on an 82 run.

"It was in­ter­est­ing game. We started off very slowly. We've done that a few times and I don't know why," Ras­mussen said. "Der­rick started slowly then all of a sud­den he got cranked up and we were play­ing. We can't af­ford to start like that Tues­day night at West­lake."

Newton kept it go­ing early in the sec­ond by scor­ing the first nine points to cap a 172 run over­all and lead 18-9. Henry's bucket with two sec­onds to go in the sec­ond put the Rams up 20-15 at half­time.

"He (Henry) had a nice bounce back at the end of the first quar­ter and had a good sec­ond quar­ter," Ras­mussen said. "The whole team played bet­ter when he picked it up. It's kind of we go as he goes to a cer­tain ex­tent."

Af­ter tak­ing the lead with 40 sec­onds left in the first, the Rams never trailed. Ordu's 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third gave Newton a 10-point lead head­ing into the fi­nal pe­riod.

New­nan crept to within seven but never mounted a se­ri­ous charge. The Rams

held New­nan to four of 17 shoot­ing in the fourth quar­ter and out­re­bounded them 34-28.

Both teams strug­gled from the free throw line. Newton went 10 of 22 while New­nan made just 11 of 24.

"I think some of that is who we have shoot­ing them," Ras­mussen said. "We have guys who don't start and aren't used to shoot­ing them shoot them, not a guy who shoots 10 a game. That's part of our lack of con­sis­tent five guys. I wish we could get some con­sis­tency."

Both teams strug­gled at times with turnovers but for the most part took care of the ball. Newton turned it over 13 times to New­nan's 15.

At 4-0 in re­gion play, the Rams are a game up on Langston Hughes and three clear of West­lake head­ing into the show­down with the de­fend­ing state run­ner-up Tues­day.

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Re­jected: Wil­lie Smith (21) blocks Tray Mathews (34) dur­ing Newton's 49-36 win over New­nan Fri­day.

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