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Rams rise over Tigers

The Newton Rams boys’ varsity basketball team tipped-off its 2013-2014 season on the hardwood Tuesday night, prevailing 68-28 in a rout over rival Alcovy in their first game in the Rams’ new gymnasium.

Jalen Glover led the Rams with 15 points, pacing a Newton offense that outscored the Tigers by 14 in the opening half.

Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said that the win was a game worthy of christening the Rams’ new home.

“It was a good first game and a really fun atmosphere,” Rasmussen said. “It was exciting to play in the new facility.”

The Rams got out to a quick 7-0 lead on baskets from senior Taylor Hawkins and freshman Darvin Jones. Newton ended the quarter with an 18-8 lead and came out in the second quarter firing on all cylinders.

Keion Sims scored the first points of the period and got the crowd electrified after making a reverse layup that was heavily contested by Tigers’ defenders. The Tigers cut the lead to 13 after a shot by Frank Walker, putting the Tigers within 23-10.

The Rams ended the quarter the way they began it, pushing their lead to 14 with a layup from Sims, carrying a 29-15 advantage into halftime.

The third quarter began with both teams exchanging baskets, but it was only for a short period, as the Rams’ offense kicked it into high gear. In just a matter of minutes, Newton turned a 15-point lead into a 43-19 advantage, outscoring the Tigers by 13 in the third period.

The Tigers’ Jaylin Burgess nailed a 3-pointer to stop the Rams’ momentum for a brief moment, but the Rams’ offensive onslaught continued, ending the third quarter with a 49-22 lead.

Alcovy first-year head coach Jabari Levi said that his team would need to knock back the Rams’ initial offensive push, but that the Rams’ were relentless in the season opener.

“I told the team coming in that this would be their first game and we had to withstand their first punch,” Levi said. “We handled it okay, but as the game went on they continued to come in waves.”

Hill joined Glover in double figures, finishing the contest with 11 points.

“I thought Jalen played well there in the quarter to sort of push the game out of reach,” Rasmussen said. “He had a little spurt, and sort of took over the game a bit, and I thought that was a good sign. D.J. played well, too. When he wasn’t on the floor, we were a little bit of a different team. We were looking a little bit for an identity because he’s our point guard and our floor general.”

The Rams will host the Salem Seminoles on Friday in a rivalry game, and Rasmussen wants his team to remain focused.

“The season is long, and one win doesn’t make the season,” he said. “We talked about not being overconfident and respecting everybody and fearing nobody.”

Game time is set for 8 p.m.

The Tigers return to action Nov. 25 against Walnut Grove.