Henry’s 34 leads Newton County All-Stars to draw, girls roll
CONYERS — Several senior basketball players from Newton and Rockdale Counties gathered in one gym with one purpose on Tuesday; to determine which county was the best. The night’s events were hosted by Rockdale High School and consisted of a girls and boys 3-point contest, a slamdunk contest and concluded with a girls and boys AllStar game.
Newton County’s girls topped the Rockdale team 41-35 in the first game while the boys played to an 80-80 tie. Boys’ coaches Alvin Williams (Rockdale) and Rick Rasmussen agreed to end the game as a stalemate.
Fans were treated to plenty of outstanding basketball skills and athleticism that left the crowd in complete awe over the vast amount of talent between both counties.
The night started with the girls’ 3-point contest, won Newton High’s Qaiserah Sharif with 11 points. Rockdale’s Portia McCray came in second place for Rockdale County with seven points.
The boys 3-point contest came down to a battle between Newton County stars. Eastside’s Chris Bonner took the trophy after outdueling Newton's Alex Ordu 10-5 in the final. Ordu scored the highest single-round total of 15 in the opening round but it was Bonner’s consistency that paid dividends in the end. Bonner scored 10 in the second round to Ordu’s nine
to set up the final.
The dunk competition came down to Eastside’s Donovan Barrett for Newton County and Rockdale’s Derek Ferrell. Barrett’s dunk of an alley-oop assist off the backboard from Ordu was enough to give the Eagles’ swingman the victory.
“We had a lot of fun competing tonight in the 3-point and dunk contests,” coach Rick Rasmussen said. “We (Newton County) won each contest and the athletes take great pride in being able to say that.”
In the girls’ All-Star game, Newton County battled throughout the game to win 41-35.
Eastside’s Jjade Cook dropped 12 points for Newton County while Alcovy High point guard Lisa Kossally scored 10. McCray performed brilliantly as she led all scorers with 22 points for Rockdale County.
“I’m proud of each senior that participated tonight,” Alcovy coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. “These girls have worked so hard over the years to earn the right to be considered all-stars. It was great seeing each of them honored and even better for Newton County to come away victorious, but both counties have great talent.”
The boys trailed most of their game but came from behind to finish with a 80-80 tie.
Newton’s Derrick Henry played his final high school game and led all scorers with 34 points.
Not to be outdone, Rockdale’s Bernard Thompson led Rockdale County in scoring with 33 points while backcourt mate Kevin Ware added 21.
“Derrick has a bright future ahead of him,” coach Rasmussen said. “He is currently in the process of deciding where he will play college basketball. He wants to play for a school that will challenge him both on and off the court. You can’t go wrong with a positive attitude like that.”
The highlight of his night came early in the first period when Henry slammed down an impressive dunk that would briefly stop the game and send the crowd in a frenzy.
Behind Henry in scoring for the Newton County team was Newton’s Willie Smith who dropped 14 points with a few electrifying dunks, while Alcovy’s Rometrick Camp scored 11 points.
The Newton team rallied from a double-digit lead to tie the game late before the game was called at the end of regulation.
“The game ended with a tie so we will never know which county was the best this year,” Rasmussen said. “But more importantly, we got the opportunity to celebrate the high school careers of tremendous athletes. This was a great atmosphere to play in and I'm happy that all of these seniors had an opportunity to put on a final showcase of their talents.”
Tons of fun: Derrick Henry and the rest of Newton County's all-stars ham it up before their game with Rockdale Tuesday. The boys tied 80-80 while the girls won 41-35.
Hammered: Alcovy’s Lisa Kossaly is fouled going to the rack during the Newton-Rockdale County All-Star game Tuesday.