It took almost three quarters for the Lady Rams to look like themselves Friday night, but Newton poured on 20 points in the fourth quarter to earn its eighth region victory of the season, defeating rival Alcovy 64-48 on the road.
Deandra Reed led the Lady Rams with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, but Newton couldn’t shake the Lady Tigers (6-15, 4-5) off in the opening three periods.
Leading by just six heading into the final quarter of play, Newton outscored the Lady Tigers by eight, going 7-of-11 from the free-throw line in the second half while turning Alcovy over 11 times in the final 16 minutes.
Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said the Lady Rams faced a hint of adversity before the start of the game, but she was proud of the way her team responded to improve its record to 13-6 overall.
“At the beginning of the game, we had an emotional start,” Johnson said. “Everyone’s focus was off, so we got a slow start. I told them at halftime that adversity makes you strong, so we needed to play through some of the external stuff."
Leading 44-36 to start the fourth, Newton grew its lead to double digits, opening the quarter on a 10-0 run.
Sonia Forney started the Newton run with a layup after grabbing a loose ball underneath the Lady Rams’ basket, and point guard Precious Price knocked down back-to-back baskets, pushing Newton’s lead to 48-36 with 5:26 to go.
Alcovy’s Kiara Bagby ended the Newton run with a 3-pointer from the left wing a minute later, but Forney scored inside the paint, giving Newton a steady 54-41 advantage.
The Lady Tigers hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes, threatening Newton’s lead, but Price, Forney and Cynteria Langhorne combined to go 4-of-4 from the charity stripe during the stretch, allowing Newton to hang on for the 16-point win.
“One of the two biggest things to focus on during a game is rebounding and hitting your free throws,” Johnson said. “They did a good job of both tonight.”
Newton led by five after halftime, taking a 25-20 lead into the third quarter. Reed scored first for the Lady Rams in the quarter on a 3-pointer, but Daja Barnes answered with a 3-pointer of her own on Alcovy’s next possession, trimming Newton’s lead to 28-25 with 6:58 left in the quarter.
Alcovy and Newton traded baskets, and the Lady Tigers cut Newton’s lead to one on a Tierra Hodges’ free throw.
But the Lady Rams ended the quarter on a 9-6 run, highlighted by a six-point scoring outburst from Langhorne. Shay Lawrence added a 3-pointer for Newton during the run to extend Newton’s lead to six.
Down 11-9 in the second quarter, Alcovy took the lead with a 4-1 run to open the period, going up 13-12 on a Keidra Sears rebound and putback. Newton battled back to tie the game after Imani Broadnax scored off her own miss, part of her six points in the quarter, and Newton took the lead for good on a pair of Lawrence free throws.
Alcovy converted just two field goals over the final six minutes of the half, allowing Newton to go on a 13-6 run to end the quarter.
Newton led 11-9 after the first period, with Reed scoring seven in the quarter to pace the Lady Rams.
Forney joined Reed in double figures with 11 points, while Hodges led Alcovy with 13.