COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton Lady Rams (5-2, 1-1) fell at home to the Grayson Lady Rams (4-3, 1-0) in 66-56 in a game where turnovers plagued the hosting Rams team.
As the game progressed, the constant struggle for Newton was their struggle with turning over the ball, whether it came on errant passes or travels; it was a hindrance for them all night long.
This especially frustrated Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson, who believes the biggest takeaway from the game was how much her Lady Rams hurt themselves.
"We could have won the game," Johnson said when asked what her biggest takeaway was from the matchup. "They're a beatable team, and we beat ourselves. They're a great team and very energetic, and when you play a team like that, you can't give them more opportunities than they earn, and we just handed it to them."
Newton finished the game with 22 turnovers to Grayson's 14, and Johnson harped on the fact that if they wanted to win this game, they could not give Grayson these types of opportunities.
"We just had unforced turnovers under the basket, just letting them take the ball out of our hands, not meeting them at the ball," Johnson said. "All the ways you give teams extra opportunities, we found a way to do that today."
Newton also struggled in the paint against Grayson as the visiting Rams 6-foot-2 center Malia Grace was one of her team's leading scorers with 19 points. Johnson knows her bigs will need to be more physical as the season progresses if this team wants to find success.
"It's something that has to get better as the season goes on, I think Karmen (Fennell) did a good job of at least being strong and being physical and making her presence known there," Johnson said. "My big girls struggled just to match their physicality today."
Despite the struggles on the night for Newton, sophomore Ashleigh Norris was a bright spot for her team. Johnson is proud of her early efforts but knows that she still has some areas to improve in as the season continues.
"I think she's done a great job of coming in and playing hard. I would like to have seen her play a little more controlled today, but her speed and energy, there are not many can move like her with the ball," Johnson said. "As we go on, she's going to get better, and the team's going to get better, and I'm looking forward to it."
The Rams fell behind early but pulled within one in the second quarter of play. This shows that they have the ability to hang with Grayson, but Johnson knows that they need to play a complete game and take care of the basketball in the future to beat quality teams.
"We have to take care of the basketball," Johnson said. "Putting complete quarters together, if we don't give up 20 points in the first quarter, then it's a completely different ballgame, so we have to put all four quarters together."
The Newton Rams will look to do just that on the road in their next region matchup against their heated rivals the Rockdale County Bulldogs on Friday, Dec. 13.