LITHONIA - Friday night proved to be a rough evening for the Newton varsity basketball squads, as both the girls and boys teams would each drop a decision to Stephenson in region action.
The Lady Rams (4-11 overall, 1-6 Region 2-AAAAA) came out of the gate very slowly and never really got it going as they fell by a 63-18 final to the Lady Jaguars.
The score at halftime was 29-9 and never got any better. The lone bright spot for Newton was TeKe Gaither, who scored nine points, accounting for half of the team's offense.
For the boys, Newton (11-4, 4-3) started out fairly well, falling behind by just two, 12-10, at the end of the quarter. However, after the final buzzer had sounded the Jaguars (11-5, 5-2) were on top, 66-49.
The second frame would turn out to be quite the opposite, though, as the Rams were outscored 24-11 in the period. They trailed 36-21 at halftime.
"We had a great first quarter," noted Newton boys head Rick Rasmussen. "The kids really played tough, taking four charges. We didn't play well in the second quarter. They made a run and built a pretty good lead."
The Rams once again got a strong game from senior leader Sean Monk, who battled for a game-high 18 points.
Newton's Tevin Bradley netted 10 before ultimately fouling out. Montrell Grimes also reached double figures with 10 points, while Jamon Hawkins added eight.
Meanwhile, Stephenson was led behind college prospect Adrian Coleman, who scored 18 points. William Tolefree added 14, while Rashaad Carter scored 13 points. On the plus side, the Rams did a good job putting the clamps on shooting guard Kevin Dukes, holding him to just six points on the night.
"The kids showed a lot of heart tonight," said Rasmussen, searching for bright spots regarding the loss. "They never quit in the second half and kept battling hard. We weren't able to slow them up, though. Stephenson was very quick in transition and made a lot of shots. We need to shoot better to win. It is very tough to win on the road in our region."
A quick glance at free throws in the game gives a clear indication of what Rasmussen was referring to.
Stephenson shot 21 free throws while Newton only went to the line twice for a total of four free throws. The Rams were whistled for a total of 18 fouls compared to nine against Stephenson, five of which were offensive fouls.
Rasmussen said it best, "It is time to forget this one and get ready for the next one."