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PREP BASKETBALL: Newton squads split regular season finale with state ranked Eagle's Landing
Tre Clark
Newton's Tre Clark goes strong to the basket for two of his game-high 22 points in the Rams' 65-55 win over Class AAAAA No. 2 Eagle's Landing. -photo by Ben Ennis

McDONOUGH, Ga. — It meant nothing for region standings. It had absolutely no bearing on state tournament positioning. But the Class AAAAAAA No. 7 Newton Rams’ 65-55 win over Class AAAAA No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Saturday night still felt good. 

And coach Rick Rasmussen knows it. 

“We were down at least 10 early, then cut it to six at half when Tre (Clark) got hot. Then we blitzed them in the third (and) made free throws in the fourth,” Rasmussen said. “Big win for us.” 

Clark registered a team-high 22 points with most of his scoring coming in second and fourth quarter bursts. Clark buried a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to help chop a double digit lead almost in half by halftime as the two teams went into the locker rooms with Eagle’s Landing carrying a 33-27 lead. 

But Rasmussen’s bunch ratcheted up the defensive intensity in the third quarter, shutting out the Golden Eagles from the field in the period while outscoring them 15-1. J.D. Hall and Clark knocked down threes for Newton in that pivotal period, while Armani Harris — who was one of three Rams finishing with 11 points — got to the free throw line with regularity. 

In the fourth quarter, it was Shawn Smith, Clark and Tyrease Brown making it count from the charity stripe. Smith and Brown also had 11 points apiece, while Hall chipped in with 10. Newton shot 71 percent from the free throw line in the game.

It was a solid regular season finale that pushed the Rams’ record to 19-6 heading into Wednesday’s Region 8-AAAAAAA tournament action against Rockdale. Newton has won four of its last five games, heading into postseason play. 

The Lady Rams weren’t as fortunate, falling 43-37 to the Class AAAAA No. 7 Eagle’s Landing Lady Eagles. Seniors Jada Franklin and Rachel Hilliard paced the Lady Rams with 11 and 10 points apiece. 

Eagle’s Landing never had a lead larger than seven points in the game, but Newton couldn’t completely close the gap in key situations. The Lady Rams fell to 8-15 overall as they prepare to face South Gwinnett Wednesday afternoon in Region 8-AAAAAAA tournament action.