The Newton boys varsity basketball team needed overtime Saturday to handle Cedar Shoals, but in the end, the Rams rallied from a first-quarter deficit to defeat the Jaguars 51-46 on the road in non-region play.
Darvin Jones led the Rams with 15 points, pacing a Newton trio, with Taylor Hawkins and Keion Sims, that finished in double figures. However, Newton found itself down 12-5 after the first quarter, struggling to find its shots.
While the Rams’ D.J. Hill and Jalen Glover combined for just 10 shots in the game, Newton overcame its early offensive deficiencies, outscoring Cedar Shoals by 16 combined points in the second and third quarters.
Newton rallied to take a 22-20 lead at halftime thanks to a half-court shot at the buzzer from Hawkins, and the Rams dominated the third quarter before Cedar Shoals rallied in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
"I thought there was a little fatigue and letdown after the rivalry game Friday night against Alcovy,” Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. “We gave Alcovy everything we had and then turned right around and had to travel and play a 5:30 game. It was a quick turnaround.
“Cedar played extremely well, and they are talented on the front line,” he said. “They did a good job on our guards, but after the fourth we were able to get the lead and just kill the clock.”
Cedar Shoals outscored the Rams 15-6 in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime with the game tied 39-39.
In the extra period, Newton dominated, outscoring the Jaguars 12-7.
Rasmussen said turnovers and free throws determined the game. Newton turned the ball over just six times to Cedar Shoals’ 15, and Newton outshot the Jaguars 27 to 18 at the charity-stripe, hitting 18 free throws.
“Those little things made the difference,” Rasmussen said. “They shot a better percentage than us at the line, but we shot more. They’re a bigger team, but we only gave up seven offensive rebounds, and they only out-rebounded us 36-32, so we were fairly even there.”
Sims finished with eight rebounds for the Rams and had two blocks, while Hawkins added three rebounds and two steals.
“It was a great character-building win for our guys,” Rasmussen said. “We didn’t play well and still came out with a win in a tough environment.”
The Newton girls varsity basketball team continued its recent win streak on the road, earning a 79-41 victory over Cedar Shoals in the early contest.
The win gave Newton its sixth consecutive victory since Jan. 4.
Newton returns to action Friday on the road against Rockdale County.
Game time against the Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m.