Hill, Sims lead New­ton rout

The Covington News - - SPORTS - MATT SMITH msmith@cov­news.com

It was a rout from the get-go Wed­nes­day night in Covington, as the New­ton Rams de­feated ri­val Rock­dale County 65-49 to move to 3-2 over­all in Re­gion 2-AAAAAA.

D.J. Hill led New­ton with 19 points, while Keion Sims added 12, in­clud­ing eight points in the third quar­ter, in the win.

New­ton led by as many as 11 in the first quar­ter, jump­ing out on a 13-2 run to open the game, while Rock­dale’s of­fen­sive woes plagued it in a first half that saw the Bull­dogs score just 18 points.

“I thought we played well early and we got a lead that we never re­lin­quished,” New­ton coach Rick Ras­mussen said. “It made a dif­fer­ence be­cause we were off on our shoot­ing tonight. Our top two shoot­ers didn’t have great nights, but we were able to build up a big lead any­way be­cause other guys stepped up.

“We still have things that we need to work on, but I thought we played well over­all,” he said.

Rock­dale turned the ball over just four times in the first quar­ter of play, but was un­able to score from the floor, shoot­ing 25 per­cent dur­ing the quar­ter and 30 per­cent for the en­tire first half.

“Hon­estly, this was a poor ef­fort tonight,” Rock- dale coach Alen Wil­liams said. “Not tak­ing any­thing away from New­ton, but this game was more on us and what we failed to do. We’ll have to turn around quick and get af­ter it hard in the morn­ing, be­cause we have two more ri­valry games com­ing up against Al­covy and Her­itage.”

The Rams built up an 11-point first half lead, as five dif­fer­ent play­ers helped New­ton build a 13-2 ad­van­tage. Tay­lor Hawkins and Sims knocked down the Rams' first two bas­kets of the night, and a Darvin Jones 3-pointer from the left cor­ner with 4:07 left in the pe­riod pushed New­ton’s ad­van­tage to 11-2.

Tarik Rogers con­verted a layup af­ter grab­bing an of- fen­sive re­bound, con­tin­u­ing New­ton’s scor­ing run be­fore Rock­dale’s Dar­ryl Tucker stopped the Rams’ run with a layup. New­ton car­ried a 15-7 ad­van­tage into the se­cond quar­ter, de­spite Tucker scor­ing five points for the Bull­dogs in the open­ing pe­riod.

In the se­cond quar­ter, Rock­dale ramped up its de­fen­sive pres­sure, giv­ing the Rams dif­fer­ent de­fen­sive traps and pres­sures. The Rams with­stood the Bull­dogs’ early push, lim­it­ing Rock­dale to 11 points in the quar­ter.

Rock­dale cut New­ton’s lead to 18-13 on a Brian Jessie run­ner in the lane with 5:15 left in the half,

but New­ton went on a 12-0 run fueled by seven points from Hill, car­ry­ing a 32-18 lead into half­time.

New­ton and Rock­dale traded bas­kets in the third, with Sims scor­ing eight points in the quar­ter to keep the Bull­dogs at bay. New­ton’s Jalen Glover also scored his first point of the con­test on a free throw af­ter com­bin­ing for 49 points over the Rams' pre­vi­ous two con­tests.

New­ton nar­rowly outscored the Bull­dogs 18-14 in the quar­ter, push­ing its lead to 18 head­ing into the fi­nal pe­riod of play.

“Sims is long and ath­letic and it made a dif­fer­ence tonight,” Ras­mussen said. “He came out and played ag­gres­sive. He got in a lit­tle foul trou­ble in the first half, or he prob­a­bly would have had an even big­ger night. He and D.J. (Hill) played well tonight. They con­trolled the en­tire game.”

Rock­dale started the fourth quar­ter on a 7-1 run, in­clud­ing a 3-pointer from Jalen Jordan and a Con­ner Fer­rell coast-to-coast layup, but Hill ended the shot at a come­back bid, con­vert­ing a jumper with 4:55 left in the game, end­ing Rock­dale’s run.

Tucker fin­ished with a team-high 16 points for the Bull­dogs while also grab­bing 11 re­bounds.

Hawkins joined Sims and Hill in dou­ble fig­ures with 10 points. Hawkins, Sims and Rogers fin­ished with six re­bounds apiece for the Rams.

Rock­dale re­turns to ac­tion Fri­day night on the road, mak­ing the trip back to Covington to take on Al­covy at 8:30 p.m.

The Rams will host ri­val East­side at home on Satur­day.

“It’s go­ing to be fun,” Ras­mussen said. “All of these games have been great. We’ve had Salem, Rock­dale and we’ll have East­side all in a row and they are great tests for us.”

Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.

An­thony Banks/The Covington News

Keion Sims scored 12 points in the Rams' 65-49 vic­tory over the Rock­dale County Bull­dogs. The win moves New­ton to 3-2 in Re­gion 2-AAAAAA.

An­thony Banks/The Covington News New­ton's Tay­lor Hawkins cuts off the base­line to the Bull­dogs' Con­ner Fer­rell, forc­ing a tough shot near the rim.

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