Croone's hot shoot­ing lifts Newton past East­side

The Covington News - - Sports - Josh Briggs Sports Edi­tor

In Newton's three games against county foes this sea­son, ev­ery game has come down to the last play. That wasn't the case Satur­day.

The Rams (14-2) ex­acted re­venge af­ter los­ing its first game to East­side in school his­tory in De­cem­ber with a 50-33 win.

Stephen Croone scored a sea­son-high 16 points on the strength of four 3-point­ers, Der­rick Henry capped a stel­lar week with 12 points and the Rams never trailed en route to their ninth straight win.

"That was a fairly dif­fer­ent game than the first time around," Newton Coach Rick Ras­mussen said. "I think we came to play. They got us the first time but we were ready it was a great win."

While each of the three county teams de­feated the other for the first time since Al­covy came into the mix five years ago, Newton claims county su­pe­ri­or­ity based on point dif­fer­en­tial.

Be­hind Croone, Newton started quickly. Croone hit two threes and scored eight points in the first quar­ter and the Rams built a 90 lead over the first three min­utes.

East­side didn't score over the first five min­utes but then reeled off five straight to make it a 9-5 game.

Henry joined the foray to open the sec­ond quar­ter with a 3-pointer and Newton led 17-5. The Rams led 24-12 at the half.

"That's the first time we've seen a zone de­fense for an ex­tended pe­riod of time in a while," Ras­mussen said. "We shot the ball well. I thought we ex­e­cuted our zone of­fense well and hit some shots."

Newton's de­fense kept East­side's Dono­van Bar­rett in check. Af­ter torch­ing the Rams for five three point- ers in De­cem­ber, Bar­rett hit just one and had 12 points. But it wasn't just Bar­rett. The Ea­gles scored 15 points over the first three quar­ters.

"That was one of our best de­fen­sive games of the year," Ras­mussen said. "They scored 15 points through three quar­ters. That's great."

Henry, fresh off av­er­ag­ing 27 points in wins over M.L. King, Luella and Rock­dale to start the week, was rel­a­tively quiet. In­stead it was Croone who did the heavy lift­ing.

"I was pleased we shot the ball well," Ras­mussen said. "We hadn't shot the ball as well as we are ca- pable of. I thought Stephen played par­tic­u­larly well. He looked like he was com­ing around last game and we de­cided to start him and he played well."

The Rams fin­ished the hec­tic week 4-0 and will at­tempt to keep it go­ing this week as they again will play four games as they makeup games lost to the snow storm.

"It was a tough week. Four games in five nights. I don't know of many teams in the state that took that on," Ras­mussen said. "It was a big win for us. The sec­ond time you play some­one is al­ways the most im­por­tant be­cause it's closer to the end of the year. It's mo­men­tum and we hope we can keep it up."

Brit­tany Thomas/The Cov­ing­ton News

Line it up: Stephen Croone hit four 3-point­ers in Newton's 50-33 win over East­side Satur­day.

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