The Newton High boys waltzed to their fifth consecutive win with a convincing 58-39 victory over Union Grove on Friday night at home.
"It was a good solid region win at home," said Newton coach Rick Rasmussen. "This keeps us in the hunt. Every game is big down the stretch. I'm glad that we could play well in this game."
With the win, the Rams (16-4 overall, 8-3 Region 2-AAAAA) completed their season sweep over the Wolverines.
Earlier Friday, the Lady Rams (6-14, 2-9) came ever so close to tasting victory in their rematch with the Lady Wolverines, but ultimately fell in the end, 40-37.
However, this was a far cry from their game at Union Grove (6-8, 2-4) where they dropped a 74-47 decision.
For the boys, Newton utilized a strong pressure defense that forced Union Grove (5-14, 0-10) into 20 turnovers. In comparison, the Rams did an admirable job of protecting the ball, turned it over just seven times.
"Our pressure gave them trouble and we were able to get some easy baskets out of it," said Rasmussen regarding his team's defensive prowess. "We anticipated well and got a hand in the passing lane. When you hold your opponent under 40 points, you will win a lot of basketball games."
It was a team effort for the blue and white, as no fewer than eight players would score at least three points.
Tee Farley continued his fine play with a team-leading 11 points. He was followed closely by Montrell Grimes, who just missed a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Tevin Bradley and Sean Monk each chipped in with eight points, while Jamon Hawkins added seven.
"It's always a team effort," commented Hawkins. "I don't really care about points. As long as the team wins, I'm happy."
Hawkins managed a different eye-popping stat besides points, finishing the night with six assists and an amazing 11 steals.
When asked of the steals, Hawkins added, "I knew where they were going to pass and was able to anticipate it and pick it off. Everyone really chipped in tonight."
The Rams also received a nice boost from their bench, as Omar Crawley and Derrick Henry each netted six points. Demetrious McCray and Charles "Big Chuck" Edwards each contributed three to round out the scoring.
With Edwards being the tallest player at 6-foot-5, it is easy to see why Newton has high hopes for him.
"Chuck came off the bench in the fourth quarter to anchor the middle," said Rasmussen. "I am excited about his potential with the team."
D.J. Spain was the only Wolverine to register double figures with 11 points.
In the girls game, the Lady Rams (6-14, 2-9) dug themselves a very deep hole in the first half, trailing 26-12.
Apparently there was something in the Gatorade at halftime, as Newton came out blazing in the second half of action.
Loren Wilkins paced the Lady Rams with 13 points, backed by KeKe Gaither's 10.
But it wasn't quite enough to overcome the 21 points that Christina Carlis of Union Grove would throw down.
Newton had several chances to take the lead or tie the game late, but just missed doing so.
Although not happy with the loss, Newton coach Tiffani Johnson was definitely pleased with the overall effort.
"We played a great second half," she said. "Loren stepped up big time. We just need to put two halves together. After the rough start we really fought back hard and had two good looks at the end, but couldn't convert."
M.L. King will visit Newton Friday. The Rams will travel to Salem on Saturday to make up the games cancelled due to wintry weather on Jan. 19.