CONYERS - Looking more like the walking wounded of a M*A*S*H unit instead of a basketball team, the Newton boys nonetheless held on for a hard fought 51-49 victory over Salem on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Lady Rams were steamrolled by the Lady Seminoles, 62-39.
In the boys game, one of the wounded, Jamon Hawkins, threw up a runner from the lane that just crawled over the front rim for the winner with only 18 seconds remaining.
Salem would get two more chances, but a big rebound by Tevin Bradley and a key interception on the final play by Demetrius McCray secured the win.
No fewer than four Ram starters suffered some kind of injury.
"We overcame the adversity of injuries and did enough good things down the stretch to pull out the win," said Newton coach Rick Rasmussen. "This is the toughest part of our schedule, so it was good to get back on the winning track tonight. The guys came together and battled hard."
The Rams (17-6 overall, 8-4 Region 2-AAAAA) jumped on top and led 10-7 after the first period. They increased the lead to 23-18 at halftime only to see Salem (7-16, 1-7 Region 8-AAAA South) come out strong in the third period, tying the score at 38 heading into the final quarter.
The lead would change several times in the fourth frame, setting the stage for the final drama. Hawkins had 10 points on the night, none bigger than the final two.
"I just wanted to make the shot," noted Hawkins. "We really needed a win after losing our last two."
Hawkins also had six assists, two steals and two blocked shots for the victors.
Tee Farley led the Rams with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Tevin Bradley also reached double figures with 12 points and six rebounds.
Montrell Grimes just missed double figures with nine, while Sean Monk tallied six before leaving with an injury.
Although McCray didn't score any points, he did have the biggest defensive play of the game. The football wide receiver utilized his exceptional leaping ability to go up and get the final pass.
"I just went up there and got it, just like football," recalled McCray of the game-changing play.
Chuck Edwards saw extended playing time (four rebounds) while battling against Salem's 6-foot-9 center Zach Roddenberry.
Roddenberry led all scorers with 21 points, and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
"Only three turnovers in the second half for us was probably the difference in the game," said Rasmussen. "We will need to come up with that kind of effort this next week."
For the girls, the Lady Rams (7-16, 2-10) suffered from a different kind of hurt, this by way of Salem's Courtney Hurt.
The opposing center pounded Newton for a game-high 31 points, leading the Lady Seminoles (17-6, 7-1) to victory.
"We weren't ready to play tonight and had a difficult time executing," admitted Newton coach Tiffani Johnson. "We had some runs to get back in the game at times, but couldn't keep it going."
Loren Wilkins led the Lady Rams with 14 points, backed by 12 from Shay Marks.
Rebecca Mitchell added 17 for the Lady Noles.
For Newton, the regular season will come to an end Friday night at home against Stephenson.