Newton Lady Rams coach Tiffani Johnson charged her team to start fast and end well against its archival Eastside and cause the game to be over before the third quarter began.
A 68-30 victory over the Eagles seemed to give her exactly what she wanted.
Junior Lexii Chatman had a game-high 20 points, while Jurnee Smith added 10 to help the Lady Rams notch the victory.
No. 5 Newton scored 12 of the first 14 points of the game, starting with Jurnee Smith’s layup and No. 15’s jumper to take a quick 4-0 lead. After No. 20 scored a bucket for Eastside, Jenelle Cook, Takiya Cotton and Lexii Chatman combined to score the next eight for Newton as the Rams would go on to take a 25-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Rams went a bit cold in the second quarter, but were sparked by Chatman’s eight points n the period to build a 39-15 lead going into the break. The Newton defense was suffocating while forcing over 30 Lady Eagle turnovers.
Due to the lopsided score, Johnson was able to clear her bench for the second straight game, giving her reserves ample playing time in the second half, even as some of Eastside’s young players — the Lady Eagles start three freshman and one sophomore and a junior— showed flashes of progress.
Freshman Alysee Dobbs led the Eagles with nine points, including several impressive looking shots from long range. And Nia Davis chipped in with seven, while showing good tenacity, court vision and leadership from the guard position.
The win kept Newton perfect at 5-0, and kept Eastside winless at 0-5 as both teams will enter region play next week with Newton traveling to South Gwinnett Friday and the Eastside girls hosting Woodward Academy (1-3) Saturday.
Pick up the Sunday print edition of The Covington News for a more in-depth feature story on Coach Johnson and her program.