The Tigers might not have proven much of a test, but the Newton Rams varsity basketball team didn’t take Alcovy any less seriously Friday night than it would any other opponent.
The Rams came out ready to play from the first whistle, using an 11-0 first-quarter run to fuel a 72-35 victory over Alcovy on the road.
The win moves Newton to 6-2 in the region and still fighting for a No. 1 seed in the region tournament, while the Tigers drop to 2-17 overall while still searching for a win over a team not named Druid Hills.
Three different Rams finished in double figures, led by guard Jalen Glover, who scored eight in the first quarter.
Newton connected on seven 3-pointers, while forcing 20 Alcovy turnovers in a game that coach Rick Rasmussen said was important if the Rams hoped to contend for a region title.
“I thought it was another good game by our guys tonight,” Rasmussen said. “We didn’t take Alcovy lightly at all. We respected that it was a region game and it meant a lot. We’re trying to hold our position in the region and hopefully move up. Every game is important."
Newton started its scoring early, rushing out to an 11-point advantage. Guard D.J. Hill found Glover open for a 3-pointer for the Rams’ first score of the contest, and seconds later, Taylor Hawkins picked off an Alcovy pass and converted it into a layup to put the Rams ahead 5-0.
A pair of layups from Hill and a basket from Keion Sims ended the Rams’ run before the Tigers’ Kevin Reina knocked down a free throw for the Tigers’ first point of the night. LaReco Herring drained a 3-pointer on Alcovy’s next possession, but the basket was the last for the Tigers in the first half, as Newton had a 9-0 spurt to take a 20-4 advantage into the second period.
Alcovy played the Rams tight in the second quarter. Newton outscored the Tigers 11-10 in the period, pushing its lead to 20 after Hill found Glover near the baseline for an ally-oop over the Tigers’ defense.
Herring scored five straight points for the Tigers in the period, knocking down a 3-pointer and an elbow jumper, trimming Newton’s advantage to 28-12 with 3:11 remaining in the first half. Herring’s baskets were part of a 7-0 run for Alcovy after Cameron Banks hit a jumper. A Hawkins basket and Sims free throw took the Rams into the half leading 31-14.
Newton continued pouring it on in the second half, outscoring Alcovy 42-21.
Newton hit a trio of 3-pointers from Glover, Hill and Darvin Jones,a nd Alcovy went scoreless for more than three minutes in the quarter, allowing Newton to push its lead to 50-22 entering the fourth.
The Rams doubled up the Tigers 22-11 in the period, growing their lead to as many as 38 points. Devonte Long hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Tigers, getting Alcovy back within 32 with 2:27 left in the game, but Newton closed the quarter on a 6-2 run, including nine points from Keondre McKibben over the final eight minutes.
Sims and Hill joined Glover in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively, while Herring led the Tigers with eight.
Alcovy interim coach Eric Hollier said that against the Rams his team looked listless, despite seeing improvement over the three previous games.
“Tonight’s game did not go the way I envisioned it,” Hollier said. “The guys have been doing a good job of playing well over the last three games, but tonight, it just wasn’t there. Perhaps fatigue was a factor, but the guys just didn’t play as well as they have the last three days.”