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Newton girls basketball’s bounce back season ends in the Sweet Sixteen
Newton Lady Rams Basketball Playoffs 2024 North Paulding
Newton freshman Mya Perry (2) runs towards the basket in the Lady Rams' Sweet 16 matchup with North Paulding on Friday. - photo by Garrett Pitts

DALLAS, Ga. — The Newton Lady Rams season came to an end Friday night in the Sweet 16 of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs.

On the road against North Paulding, the Lady Rams fell 48-37 in a game that was tight all the way till the end.

After going into the second half trailing 20-15, the Lady Rams could not pull closer due to North Paulding’s defensive presence in the paint.

Throughout the game, the Lady Wolfpack squandered many scoring opportunities for Newton inside.

On the defensive end for Newton, critical threes from North Paulding allowed it to pull ahead of the Lady Rams in the second half.

Early in the third quarter, back-to-back three balls from Marina Sippolo gave the Lady Wolfpack a 30-22 lead. 

For the rest of the contest, Newton could not find a way to pull within six points as the North Paulding advantage stood the rest of the way to claim the Sweet 16 win.

The Lady Rams were able to stay close with the help of Sanaa Tripp and Alissa Sandifer. The two combined for 16 points in the second half.

The Lady Rams were led by Sandifer and Tripp with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Newton’s 2023-24 campaign came to a close with a 20-12 record. In Region 4-AAAAAAA play, the Lady Rams finished 8-3.

The 20-win season came after a year in which the Lady Rams only won three games.

Assessing his team’s improvement, Bailey gave the credit to his two seniors as one of the main reasons for Newton’s bounce back season.

“I just love the progress,” Bailey said. “It starts with our two seniors — two kids who were not a part of the program last year. Both were a part of the program recently but came back home and just made us so much better. Imari Humphrey and Sanaa Tripp — they both became leaders for us.”

Following the season-ending loss, Bailey emphasized how this year will be just the beginning of where the Lady Rams aspire to be.

“It shows that we are ready to make a jump,” Bailey said. “We just have to do the work in the offseason to get better and be ready to roll next year.”