Rams move to 6-0 in re­gion

Henry scores 29, Newton ex­tends win­ning streak to eight

The Covington News - - Sports - Josh Briggs Sports Edi­tor

Af­ter its emo­tional win over Rock­dale Wed­nes­day, it could have been easy for Newton to suf­fer the quin­tes­sen­tial letdown Fri­day es­pe­cially at M.L. King. In­stead the Rams built an early lead and held on down the stretch to win 53-43 and re­main un­de­feated in re­gion play.

"We were fa­tigued. I saw it yes­ter­day in prac­tice. We're fa­tigued yet we won by 10 on the road so I'll take it," Newton coach Rick Ras­mussen said. "We were very tired so we made some mental er­rors. We were sloppy but you have to play this stretch."

Der­rick Henry poured in 29 points, 19 in the sec­ond half and the Rams used a 19-point fourth quar­ter to turn a close game into a dou­ble-digit win.

The dif­fer­ence came down to free throw shoot­ing. Both teams shot the all well but Newton (13-2, 6-0 Re­gion 2-AAAAA) went to the line 10 more times. M.L. King (10-6, 2-4) hit 13 of 16 from the line while the Rams went 19 for 26. Henry was par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive, fin­ish­ing 13 of 16 from the char­ity stripe.

Newton used its de­fense to build an early lead. Wil­lie Smith scored the first bucket to get things go­ing then Henry scored six straight as the Rams built a 10-2 lead. Henry had two steals dur­ing the run.

Newton threat­ened to break the game open. The Rams raced out to a 14-4 lead af­ter one pe­riod and led by as many as 14 early in the sec­ond.

M.L. King re­sponded with a 7-2 run to set­tle in a bit and fin­ished the half outscor­ing Newton 6-3. Newton led 2317 at half­time.

"We came out ready to play and un­for­tu­nately we didn't put it away," Ras­mussen said. "But we had enough down the stretch

and again, we prob­a­bly ex­pended a lot of en­ergy there and let them get back in the game."

As crisp and quick as Newton was in the first half, the af­fects of play­ing their third game in four days be­gan to show its ef­fect in the sec­ond. M.L. King came out ag­gres­sively early in the third and opened the sec­ond half with an 8-1 run to tie the game at 25-25 with 6:36 left in the quar­ter.

"We re­ally were just fa­tigued and made some mental mis­takes and were reach­ing in and do­ing things be­cause we weren't mov­ing our feet but we were able to fin­ish strong and that's what mat­ters," Ras­mussen said.

The Rams re­sponded by scor­ing five straight and took a 30-25 lead on Stephen Croone's 3-pointer with 5:36 to go un­til the fourth.

Croone fin­ished with six points on two threes. Smith chipped in with seven.

Henry and the Rams re­built a 10-point lead early in the fourth quar­ter but the Lions roared back to pull to within one in­side of three min­utes to play.

Up 42-41, the Rams outscored M.L. King 11-2 over the fi­nal 2:48.

"Our kids kept their com­po­sure and didn't panic when they made that run," Ras­mussen said. "We were fa­tigued but we fin­ished the game on that 11-1 run in the last two min­utes. We fin­ished strong."

Newton re­mains the lone team un­beaten in re­gion play. The Rams have a chance to move two games up on Langston Hughes when they travel to play the Pan­thers Tues­day.

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Get low: Alex Ordu drives past a de­fender dur­ing Newton's 53-43 win over M.L. King Fri­day.

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