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16: Prep teams reach final four
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Newton and Eastside High Schools each saw one of its athletic teams reach the brink of playing for a state championship, before falling short. The Rams’ boys’ basketball team and the Eagles’ baseball squad each made semifinal appearances in 2016.

Newton lost 64-59 to eventual Class AAAAAA champion Westlake during the state tournament’s Final Four round in Macon, while Eastside dropped both its games in a best 2-of-3 series to eventual state runner-up Buford. Both schools have large chunks of talent from their 2015-16 squads returning for the 2016-17 season, and the Newton Rams are currently ranked No. 1 in Georgia and No. 14 nationally by 

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