CONYERS, Ga. — With the game still firmly in doubt at the half, it was both the words and actions of senior power forward Armani Harris that set the tone for Newton’s second half dominance.
After multiple dunks from Harris in the second quarter, Tre Clark capped off an outstanding second quarter for the Rams with a buzzer beating 3-pointer.
As the Rams made their way off the court, Harris could be heard saying, “We’re done playing with them,” to several of his teammates.
And the way Harris played in the second half, he made himself a prophet of sorts.
Harris paced his eighth-ranked Newton team (17-5, 6-2) with 14 points in the second half alone as they overcame the tight first half to cruise to a 79-53 win over their Region 8-AAAAAAA rival Rockdale (7-15, 0-8) Friday night.
Harris capped off his night as the team’s leading scorer with 25 points and wowed the crowd with his five rim-crashing dunks. Although it was a stellar night for the Rams’ big man, he had nothing but praise for his teammates and their play.
“It was very exciting, but you know I can’t thank anybody but my teammates. They helped me set up those dunks,” said Harris. “We just played as a team and those dunks just follow through from us playing as a team.”
While Harris stayed humble when talking about his performance on the night, head coach Rick Rasmussen had nothing but praise for the young man.
“He’s been very consistent, in fact, he was really the only one playing well in the first few minutes of the game,” said Rasmussen. “He’s got a great motor and a lot of colleges are missing on him, but he’s a beast and he played like it tonight.”
Harris had a partner in crime in Tre Clark to help draw some attention away from him in the post. Clark finished with 23 points on the night just short of Harris’ team leading total.
The strong play of Harris and Clark, among others, propelled the Rams to a dominant 26-point victory and season sweep of their rival. But Rasmussen has the bigger picture in mind, and he knows the importance of these region wins and their upcoming pivotal test against a tough Shiloh Generals squad that’s coming to town Tuesday looking to avenge an earlier loss.
“We’re in competition for second place seeding, which is a bye to the state tournament, so we control our own destiny,” said Rasmussen. “If we win out and beat Shiloh and Archer, we’ll be the two seed and we’ll clinch a state playoff birth.”