ATLANTA - The Newton Rams’ early deficit was too much to overcome against the Dutchtown Bulldogs as they fell by a score of 82-73 in their final game of the Under Armour "Hard in the Paint" Give Back Classic.
The Rams did not register a single point until halfway through the first quarter and trailed the Bulldogs by a score of 15-0 at that point. This poor start may have been discouraging for the Rams, but they continued to fight back and pulled within 5 by the halftime break.
The continuous fight was actually encouraging for Rams head coach Charlemagne Gibbons and believes his team is in the right place despite its recent three-game losing streak.
"Three minutes tonight of bad basketball, but for 27 to 28 minutes, we looked like a pretty good basketball team," said Gibbons. "It's always a figuring-out process early in the game, 'What does this team look like? What are they going to do?' That's what young teams do. What I like about it is when you come out of the gate, and you're down 19-2, but then it's a 5-point game at the half. We're going to be fine as far as a basketball team getting into the second half of the year."
Gibbons continued on to say that as guys get more comfortable in their roles and understanding as a program what style they can play, then they will be fine throughout the process. Gibbons seems very confident in his team and their ability as they continue to show that they can compete with top-ranked teams.
The Rams head coach almost looks at these games as his team's preseason since they did not play a fall league this year. These tough games early on should pay off for the Rams, and the high level of competition could help them find their form.
"It's great for us because we just had our summer work, and we didn't play our fall league, so this is essentially our preseason, our training camp," said Gibbons. "Finding out things now that you didn't know, I actually feel really good about the guys, to be honest."
Although the Rams lost, Caleb Byrd shined in the game with a 32-point performance and played a significant role in his team's ability to pull within four points of the Bulldogs late in the game. Gibbons was pleased with Byrd's performance and his outstanding scoring ability on the night.
Qua Brown also had a solid night as the Rams only other double-digit scorer finishing with 14 points.
The Rams will look to bounce back in their first region game of the season as they take on the South Gwinnett Comets on Friday, Dec. 6, in their first region match of the season.