On Saturday the Newton Rams will welcome the neighboring Alcovy Tigers in non-region play on the basketball court. Although the game shares no impact regarding region standings, there will be a lot at stake on the hardwood. Both the boys and girls teams have much to play for: pride.
"Well, it's early in the year so I don't know a whole lot about their different personnel," said Newton boys head coach Rick Rasmussen, "but I know (Alcovy) will be ready to play and will be excited. You need to respect everybody but fear nobody, (because) it's more about what we do than it is the other teams."
For the boys, the Tigers (1-2 overall, 1-1 Region 8-AAAA, Sub-region B) are still looking for their first win against Newton. Despite a close battle during their inaugural encounter last year - with Alcovy losing by a hair, 51-49 - the Rams sprinted past the Tigers in their next hookup, 73-55.
According to Rasmussen, the newfound rivalry is good for not only the schools but everyone in the community.
"It's fun, especially for the kids to play people they know," said Rasmussen. "It's a local game, so it's good for interest in the county. But you throw out the records and what you've done in the past and just do the best you can."
Entering today the Rams (4-1, 1-1) are averaging 61.6 points per game while allowing 49 in five games. Meanwhile, the Tigers are averaging 48 points against 46.3 in just three games.
"They play tough defensively, and are going to get in our face and pressure the ball," said Rasmussen. "The biggest thing for us is to make sure we're under control."
For the girls, Alcovy has been just as unsuccessful as the boys, having lost both their games. Last season the Lady Rams (1-4, 0-2) won 40-27 and 36-24, respectively.
The Lady Tigers (0-2, 0-2) are currently averaging 28.5 points per game, while allowing a robust 60. In comparison, the Lady Rams are averaging 39 points against 52.2 per game.
Before the Rams host Alcovy they must first travel to Union Grove (4-3, 0-2) tonight. Last year Newton swept the Wolverines in convincing fashion, 68-34 and 65-41.