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.
Newton boys' basketball was dominant from start to finish on the team's way to a championship victory, defeating Thompson 72-50 in the Yuletide Classic in at Wallace State in Hanceville, Alabama. Janaud "JD" Notae was named tournament MVP after scoring 25 points in the final contest and averaging 21 points per game throughout the tournament. Sophomore DeAndrae Butler, who averaged a double-double in the Classic, along with Notae was named to the All-Tournament Team.
As far as basketball courts go, it doesn't get any bigger than Philips Arena for Georgia natives. Newton's Lady Rams and the Lady Panthers of Americus-Sumter converged on the Hawks' home court in the early afternoon on Monday to watch the 28th (Americus-Sumter) and 29th (Newton) ranked teams in the state (according to Maxpreps.com) clash.
Tucker has been a thorn in Newton's side for the last year-plus and Newton was unable to rid itself of that thorn as both of last year's Region 2-AAAAAA boys' and girls' basketball champions came out victorious at home. The formerly undefeated Lady Rams (7-1, 1-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) maintained a four-point lead after halftime, but fell to the Lady Tigers 72-60. The boys (5-2, 1-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) looked to be in control for 31 minutes, but in the 32nd, Tucker took the final lead and won 57-56.
Newton boys basketball (4-1, 1-0 Region 2-AAAAAA) engineered yet another blowout on its way to an 82-40 win over North Oconee. The Lady Rams (6-0, 1-0 Region 2-AAAAAA) were up and down throughout the game against North Oconee, but they outscored the Lady Titans, 27-21 in the final frame to earn the 64-58 victory.
Since Newton Basketball Coach Rick Rasmussen has been at Newton High School, the Rams have had 26 players go on to play in college. Of the 26, eight are currently playing in college with three of them playing at the NCAA Division I level.