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Hoops: M.L. King at Newton
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COVINGTON - As the Newton High boys fight for a playoff spot and the Lady Rams fight for their pride, both would fall short against M.L. King on Friday night.

In the boys game, Newton (17-6 overall, 8-4 Region 2-AAAAA) found out the hard way that it would be no easy task, as fourth-ranked M.L. King cruised to glory, 74-57.

Meanwhile, the Lady Rams (7-14, 2-9) surrendered another close loss, 44-40.

For the boys, the Lions (19-4, 10-2) didn't seem to care that they were playing in someone else's house, opening with an early 9-2 run. In fact, they would never look back.

Extending their lead to 16 at the end of the first, the Lions took a comfortable 42-24 lead into halftime.

After a much needed rest, the Rams came out in the third looking to make things interesting. Coached by Rick Rasmussen, they also put together several late runs, trying to complete the comeback.

But the explosive offense of the Lions proved too much for Newton to handle. Getting as close as 12 points with only five minutes to go, the Lions - who shot 9-for-10 from the free-throw line - ultimately ended with the region victory.

M.L. King's Sean Smith and Demetrius Bates each scored 20 points. Shonzikio Williams chipped in 13.

Montrell Grimes led the Rams with 20 points. Jamon Hawkins added 14, while Sean Monk scored seven points.

Earlier Friday, the Lady Rams (7-14, 2-9) took to the court seeming to play with a sense of urgency.

In a game where points came at a minimum and effort at a maximum, both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first quarter.

With the first quarter ending and the Lady Rams up 9-6, both teams seemed to shake off the pregame jitters heading into the second period.

As the teams traded blow for blow against each other, Newton would be the first half victor with a 22-18 lead entering the break.

But the second half got off much like the first. Neither team seemed to be able to capitalize on the other team's mistakes until the fourth quarter.

After being up by five at the beginning of the fourth, the Lady Rams quickly watched their lead vanish after committing 13 crucial turnovers. Having to fight to stay in the game, the Lady Rams - led by Leah Butler and her team-high 16 points - decided to make the game close in the end.

After tying the game with a late three-pointer by Shay Marks, the Lady Rams fell apart, turning the ball over and giving the Lady Lions free shots at the charity stripe.

M.L. King's Christian Page scored a team-high 15 points.

Marks finished with eight.