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PREP BASKETBALL: No. 4 Lady Rams eliminated by No. 1 Collins Hill
Newton suffers 66-41 loss in first round of state playoffs
Ashley Norris
Sophomore Ashley Norris and the Newton Lady Rams were bounced from the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs with a 66-41 loss to Collins Hill on Thursday night. - photo by Mason Wittner

SUWANEE, Ga. — The Newton High School girls’ basketball team’s 2019-20 season came to an end Thursday night when the fourth-seeded Lady Rams went on the road and suffered a 66-41 loss to No. 1 Collins Hill in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs.

Newton finished the year at 17-12.

The Lady Rams understood they had their work cut out for them going into an opening-round matchup with previously unbeaten Collins Hill. The Lady Eagles had a significant advantage in size, and they entered boasting a 27-0 record with an average margin of victory of 36.4 points.

But despite coming in as an underdog, Newton hung tight for the first quarter, trailing by only five points inside the final two minutes before taking a 22-12 deficit into the second. The remainder of the first half belonged to the Lady Eagles, however, as they began to force turnovers and capitalize in transition en route to building a 43-17 lead at the break.

“We lost focus and started turning the ball over. And once they started running, I think we put our heads down a little bit instead of trying to fight back,” Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson said. “We got bit by that turnover bug and just couldn’t get rid of it. That caused a lot of easy buckets on their end. And once that lead spread out, it was kind of hard to cut into it.”

The second half yielded more of the same for both clubs. Collins Hill grew its lead out to 55-24 at the end of the third quarter before cruising along to a 25-point victory. 

Sophomore Ashley Norris was the lone Lady Ram in double figures with 10 points. Playing in her final high school game, senior Ashley Wright followed with 9 points.

Wright is one of nine seniors to whom Newton must now bid farewell.

“We left a lot out there on the floor,” Johnson said in regards to Newton’s season. “In several games, I think we could have been in a better position, played a little better in the region tournament, closed some games. But the chips fell where they did, and every year you just come back and try to make it happen the next [season.]”