The Newton Rams and Alcovy Tigers squared off in a matchup of top teams in one of the state's better regions Saturday night.
While the game finished after press time, the set up was ripe with story lines. The two teams met in region play for the first time ever; Newton spent the last few years competing at the state's highest level, just missing the postseason in 2011-12; and Alcovy jumped on to the scene reaching the elite eight last year and, oh yeah, the whole area rival thing.
Adding to that list was the fact that Alcovy was struggling in the early season, coming in with three straight losses, while the Rams had three straight wins.
After coming up with an 11-point victory over Stone Mountain and a 12-point win over Hart County, Newton had a tougher time with Jenkins Friday, but came out with the win.
The two teams have faced off twice before in playoff games, and Friday night's matchup was also closely contested.
Tied at 36-36 going into the fourth quarter, Newton gave up a 10-0 run to give Jenkins a late lead. However, the home team kept up its pressure and pulled off its biggest comeback of the short season.
The Rams used a 12-1 run in the last four minutes, sparked by Jalen Glover's 3-pointer with about four minutes left. After Glover's 3, Newton used full-court pressure to pick up some turnovers and cut the deficit.
Rodarius Mitchell then hit a foul-line jumper and Rashard Cabane hit another field goal to make it a four-point game. After a Jenkins free-throw, Glover hit another 3 to cut it to one. Mitchell put Newton in the lead with two free throws with less than a minute left.
Jenkins tied it on a free throw, only to see Newton regain the lead on Cabane's free throws with 15 seconds left. The Warriors (0-3) then took over possession and were driving on transition, going up for a game-winning layup.
That's where Mitchell stepped in to take the charge.
Glover led the way with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists and Cabane added 11 points and four charges.
Mitchell finished with nine points, three assists, four rebounds and the big charge. Albert Zachery had his first start at center, and came up with five points, two rebounds, two steals and a block and Taylor Hawkins came off the bench for a game-high seven rebounds.
The Tigers lost to another rival, Eastside, 62-48 Friday night. The Eagles (3-0) were led by Quindarrius Russell with 25 points and Chavis Williams with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Anthony Henderson added 14 points for the Eagles.