Lady Rams' rally falls short
Shariff scores 10 in fourth, drops 20 in 56-50 loss
Newton's girls were unable to complete the sweep over Rockdale despite a furious fourth-quarter comeback. The Lady Rams outscored Rockdale 22-14 in the final period but came up short in a 56-50 loss.
Down 14 entering the fourth period, Newton stormed back to within four points thanks in part to Qaiserah Shariff who scored 10 of her 20 points in the quarter. Precious Price capped a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer midway through the quarter and the Lady Rams trailed 44-40 inside of three minutes to go.
Rockdale responded to close out the quarter on a 126 run to dash the comeback attempt.
"If we could have played all four quarters like we did in the fourth quarter I definitely think the outcome would have been different," Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said. "We were able to put some good runs together and get back in the game but defensively we weren't able to get those stops we needed."
Portia McCray was one of three Lady Bulldogs in double figures. She led Rockdale with 17 points while Brianna Lawrence added 15 points and Kree Clark finished with 11.
"We can't take quarters off," Johnson said. "We've skated by some teams but when you play a team like Rockdale that has so many weapons, it's hard to win a game like that."
Despite the loss, the Lady Rams (8-6) are 5-2 in their last seven games. Rockdale (11-5) won for the seventh time in the past eight games.
Newton started slowly offensively in the first quarter but managed to pull to within 6 by the end of the period.
After each team scored 15 points the second quarter, Newton really struggled in the third. Rockdale powered ahead in the third quarter after holding the Lady Rams to just four points.
But the Lady rams woke up in the fourth quarter. Shar-
iff turned several Rockdale turnovers into layups and cut the lead down. Rockdale meanwhile was unable to respond until the final three minutes when the regained their composure and scored when they needed to down the stretch.
"We knew we could be in the game," Johnson said. "We went the press to get some energy and turnovers and it ended up working for us. We just didn't get those defensive stops in the end and we missed some key rebounds that allowed them to keep that lead."
Shariff kept up her inspired play and nearly led the Lady Rams to their ninth win. But Newton's slow start and poor offensive showing in the third proved to be too much to overcome.
"Q is one of those (players) who's going to stay in until she can't breathe anymore," Johnson said. "She always goes hard. She just didn't have very much help today. If I could put Q's heart in everyone else, we might be 14-0 right now."
Plenty of effort: Qaiserah Shariff scored 20 in Newton's 56-50 loss to Rockdale Wednesday.