Three (shot)...two (horn)...one (swish): Pandemonium.
That was the thrilling finish for the Newton Rams on Tuesday night on the road as the final shot of the game gave them a 45-42 victory over the fourth-ranked Douglass Astros.
With the game tied and the final seconds closing in, Sean Monk drilled a game-winning 3-pointer, securing Newton's biggest win yet, 45-42.
"I like pressure moments," admitted Monk, who ended with seven points, none bigger than the latter three. "It feels great to hit the winner."
But it's not anything new for the modest senior. Last year he hit a buzzer-beater against Jackson in overtime during the season-opener.
Meanwhile, the Newton girls saw first-hand why the Lady Astros are ranked among the top five, as they dropped a 69-48 decision.
In the boys game, it was no easy task for Newton (13-4 overall, 5-3 Region 2-AAAAA), as Douglass (12-2, 7-1) opened with a 9-0 run.
"It was a great game," said Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen. "Our kids battled hard and stuck to the game plan. They played like they expected to win, even after the tough start."
To settle his troops after the rough start, Rasmussen burned a timeout. And it worked as the next trip down the floor Jamon Hawkins, who had 12 points, drained a deep trey to put the Rams on the board, 9-3.
Hawkins would add another triple before the quarter ended, cutting the deficit, 11-7.
Newton came out strong in the second period. Led by Tee Farley's five points, the Rams entered the locker room at halftime trailing just 20-19.
After scoring their first basket of the third quarter, the Rams took their first lead of the night.
They would never trail again.
Hawkins drilled two more treys in the quarter as Newton led 33-26 heading into the final frame.
The fourth quarter belonged to Newton's Montrell Grimes, as he scored nine straight points en route to his game-high 15. More importantly, the Rams increased their advantage to nine on three different occasions.
Grimes also pulled down 10 reounds in the game.
"Montrell had a great fourth quarter, which helped us stave off the run we knew they would make," said Rasmussen.
Douglass did make a run; however, it was cut short by Monk and company.
With the clock winding down and the score tied at 42, Douglass turned it over thanks to a steal by Hawkins, one of four on the night. As precious seconds ticked down, he then found Farley at the top of the key, who next spotted Monk after working free from his defender in the corner.
Monk's trey hit nothing but net, exacting revenge for Newton, who had previously fallen to the Astros at home in their first hookup.
"Jamon made a great steal at halfcourt and did the smart thing (by) pulling it out for the last shot," noted Rasmussen. "Our guards did a great job running the clock down. Sean didn't rush the shot and confidently put it in the net like he knew he could."
Overall, Douglass shot 37 percent from the field compared to 53 in the first meeting between the teams.
"Our kids really had to dig down deep, especially at crunch time," said Rasmussen. "Our defense seemed to paralyze (Douglass) for the most part and kept them from ever getting into a good rhythm."
The Rams kept them off balance so much that no Astros totaled double scoring figures.
Newton's Tevin Bradley added six points to round out the scoring.
For the girls, things started off well for the Lady Rams, as they stayed close throughout most of the first half, trailing 38-25 at halftime.
"I thought we played a good first half, keeping it fairly close," said Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson. "We didn't box out very well, though. I felt like if we could do a little better job at it in the second half we (would) have had a chance."
But it didn't pan out that way for the Lady Rams, as Douglass went on a serious run to increase its lead 58-35 after three quarters of action.
Still, Newton received double-digit performances from two of their seniors. Loren Wilkins scored 19 points, backed by Shay Marks' 17.
"It was nice to see both of them step up in this game," noted Johnson. "If we can keep getting more balance in the scoring like that it should help us in the long run."