After letting Rockdale come back from an 11-point deficit with less than three minutes to play and beat Newton at home on senior night, the Rams reedemed themselves in a 17-point victory (59-42) over nearby county rival Rockdale.
After going into the fourth quarter up by eight points, Lovejoy battled back to give the Lady Rams a late scare, but Newton took its final lead in the closing seconds to advance to the region championship game with the 65-62 win.
Three Newton Rams made the All-Region 2-AAAAAA basketball team and Rockdale's Jalen Jordan beat out Tucker's Kenton Eskridge and Newton's JD Notae to take home Region 2-AAAAAA Player of the Year honors. The 2-AAAAAA coaches ranked the players in order of the first and second All-Region teams and they are listed below along with the honorable mentions.
It was a mismatch coming in with Eastside sitting on a 5-18 record including a 1-10 mark in region play and the Lady Rams boasting an impressive 19-5 (7-3 region) record, though it didn't start that way, it ended with Newton on top in a lopsided 67-24 win.
Newton High School had 16, well, 17 signees make it official on National Signing Day Wednesday, if you count former Newton Ram, Toyous Avery, who signed his letter of intent to play for West Virginia University after playing two years of JUCO at Coffeyville Community College.
Newton sophomore Alexcia Chatman broke a school record on Saturday with nine three-pointers in a win against Salem. Chatman nailed four treys in the first quarter, three in the second quarter and one in the third and fourth quarters. The sensational sophomore finished the game with 28 points, adding one free throw to her record-breaking nine triples.
Not one, but two fourth quarter collapses for Newton basketball (girls and boys) against rival Rockdale highlighted what was supposed to be a joyous senior night for the Newton basketball players, but ended in dismay as Rockdale shocked the world (two counties) twice.
The stakes were as high as regular season basketball stakes come. With a win, Newton would own the tiebreaker over Tucker and would need to win out to claim the No. 1 seed in 2-AAAAAA earning the Rams' first win over the Tigers since the Rams welcomed them to Region 2-AAAAAA and with a loss the Rams chances at claiming the No. 1 seed were gone.
The Lady Tigers just seem to have the Lady Rams' number, as Tucker led the entire way from beginning to end in a 76-59 victory that pretty much clinches the No. 1 seed in the region tournament for Tucker.
Newton coach Terrance Banks was named the Georgia Athletic Coaches' Associaton Region 2-AAAAA Coach of the Year. The Rams won their first region championship since 1987 this past season and made it to the sweet 16 for the second straight year.
Last time Newton and Tucker met up, the results weren't favorable for the Lady Rams or the Rams. With both Newton teams playing their best basketball right now, they're hoping the outcome to Friday's upcoming thrilla in Covington will be much different when Newton hosts Tucker at home with a 6 p.m. start time.
High school games last only 32 minutes with eight minutes per quarter, it only took Newton (15-2, 5-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) all of 30 minutes – due to the mercy rule there were only six minutes in the fourth quarter – to score 120 points in a 120-51 old-school beatdown against Alcovy (3-16, 0-6 Region 2-AAAAAA) in Ram territory.
If Kayla Smith had a shot it would probably just show 10 makes around the basket and a few misses here and there. In the paint is where Smith scored all 20 of her points in Newton's (15-3, 5-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) 70-45 win over county rival Alcovy (11-7, 2-4 Region 2-AAAAAA).
Since high school Sunil Smith has loved the game of football. It was Smith's high school coaches who instilled that love of the gridiron in him, especially Harold Johnson, who coached Newton County football in 1991 and 1992, which were Smith's sophomore and junior seasons.