Newton High School hosted the quarterfinals of the Region 2-AAAAAA boys and girls basketball tournaments Saturday, with three of the four Newton County teams in action.
The Newton Rams and Alcovy Tigers met for the third time this season, while the Lady Tigers took on Lovejoy in the first game of the day.
The Newton Lady Rams were off Saturday with a first-round bye.
All of Saturday's winners will represent the region in the Class AAAAAA state tournament along with the region teams that earned a first-round bye.
Tournament action will resume Monday at 4 p.m. with semifinal games before the tournament finals on Tuesday.
The Rockdale County girls team will take on the winner of Druid Hills/Luella at 4 p.m. Monday, with Newton boys and the winner of Druid Hills/Lovejoy starting at 5:30 p.m.
The Newton girls team will take on rival Alcovy at 7 p.m. with the Rockdale boys and Luella playing the nightcap at 8:30 p.m.
Below are quarterfinal game recaps:
Rockdale Co. Boys 73, Morrow 67
The Rockdale County Bulldogs defeated the Morrow Mustangs in the quarterfinal round of the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament Saturday with a 73-67 victory at Newton High School.
The win gives the Bulldogs a bid to the GHSA Class AAAAAA state tournament this weekend.
Jalen Jordan led the Bulldogs with 32 points, including 17 points in the third quarter alone.
“It feels good," Rockdale coach Al Williams said. "We’re a young team and we’ve been battling all year just trying to get better."
The game opened up with both teams trading buckets in what was an even-tilted first quarter. The Bulldogs ended the period with a 14-13 lead, but neither team could break away earlier.
The pattern continued over into the second quarter, with both teams trading buckets, but the Mustangs ended the first half with a three-point advantage.
The third quarter saw both teams continue to trade buckets, but Morrow grew its lead to seven until the Bulldogs came storming back.
Rockdale went on a 10-0 run and carried a 51-48 lead into the fourth quarter, earasing Morrow's early advantage.
The fourth quarter opened up with both teams trading buckets until the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to take a six-point lead. The Mustangs rallied, but the Bulldogs hung on for the 73-67 win.
Rockdale will play Luella on Monday in the tournament semifinals at 5:30 p.m.
Rockdale Co. Girls 47, Morrow 30
The Rockdale County Lady Bulldogs secured their bid to the GHSA Class AAAAAA state tournament Saturday afternoon, defeating Morrow 47-30 at Newton High School.
Joani Jackson led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, 12 of those coming in the second half, while Brianna Patton added 12 points in Rockdale's third win of the season over the Lady Mustangs.
Rockdale overcame a 9-3 first-quarter deficit, taking a 19-11 lead at halftime. The Lady Bulldogs held Morrow to two points in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Mustangs 16-2 during the period.
Assistant coach Jimmy Fields led the Lady Bulldogs in the win after Rockdale coach Gladys King was sidelined due to an injury.
"I talked to the girls before the game and told them it was do or die time," Fields said. "Let's get this for the seniors and Coach King. We didn't really do anything different than we've been doing all year.
"We did start off sluggish in the first quarter ... it was like feeling each other out for the first seven or eight minutes. That kind of slowed us down on offense and getting into a rhythm."
Morrow broke a nine-and-a-half minute scoreless streak on a free throw in the third quarter, but Rockdale ended the quarter on a 6-0 run before outscoring the Lady Mustangs 13-10 in the fourth.
Rockdale returns to action Monday against the winner of Druid Hills/Luella at 4 p.m.
Newton Boys 72, Alcovy 33
In Saturday's quarterfinal contest between the Newton Rams and Alcovy Tigers, Newton picked up its third win over their rivals in a 72-33 victory.
Taylor Hawkins led the Rams with 12 points, while guard D.J. Hill added 11, scoring seven points in the second quarter alone.
The Rams raced out to an 18-7 lead in the first quarter before limiting Alcovy to four points in the second period of play.
"Today's game was a big game," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "That was win No. 20 for us and made sure that we received a state playoff berth.
"We have to continue to be focused if we want to move on from here," he said. "We came out focused tonight and ready to play and I hope we continue that. We communicated well and our body language was good. The way that we played tonight is how we have to keep playing if we want to advance."
Newton led 35-11 at halftime before outscoring the Tigers 17-9 in the third quarter.
The Rams pushed their lead to 30 with a 6-0 run to start the half, leading by as many as 34 in the period.
In the fourth quarter, a Jovan Rosse 3-pointer trimmed Alcovy's deficit to 29, but the Tigers allowed 20 points in the final quarter of play in the 29-point loss.
Gregg Perry led the Tigers with seven points. Newton returns to action Monday at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of Druid Hills/Lovejoy.
Alcovy Girls 50, Lovejoy 44
The Alcovy Lady Tigers completed a must-win comeback bid Saturday morning in tournament quarterfinal action against Lovejoy, erasing a 13-point deficit to overcome the Lady Wildcats 50-44.
The Lady Tigers were led in scoring by Tierra Hodges who had 16 points.
“I put the pressure on her today to show up on both sides of the court” Lady Tigers coach David Baker said.
The game began with a back-and-forth pace in the first quarter by both teams, but the Lady Wildcats ended the quarter with an 11-9 lead.
Both teams continued to trade baskets in the second quarter and both teams went into halftime tied 11-11.
The back-and-forth pace continued into the third quarter, but mid-way through the period the Lady Lions went on a run that gave them a 13-point advantage. The Lady Tigers finished the quarter on a 6-0 run, but still trailed at the heading into the final period of play.
The fourth quarter saw the Lady Tigers come out on an 8-0 run, holding off the Lady Wildcats for the six-point win.
Lovejoy returns to action Monday against Newton at 7 p.m.