Lady Cougars rally past Newton
By By Marty Stamper
JAN. 12, 2001
UNION It would have been fitting if the Newton County-Newton girls' basketball game in the Newton County Tournament had been played on the frozen tundra both teams were ice cold most of the night.
The Lady Cougars thawed out just enough in the fourth quarter to take a 49-45 win.
In the boys' contest, Newton beat Union 71-53. The Tigers can wrap up the county crown with a win over Newton County tonight. The girls' matchup tonight has Union hosting Newton at 6:30 p.m.
Newton County girls 49, Newton 45: The Lady Cougars and Lady Tigers combined to shoot just 32 percent from the floor in the opening game as cold spells took a toll on both squads.
Newton jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the first period before Newton County drew even at 15-15 by the end of the quarter.
Newton held Newton County scoreless for more than five minutes to start the second quarter, but led only 21-15. The Lady Tigers took a 26-22 lead into halftime.
In the first half, Newton County hit just 22.5 percent (7-of-31) of its field goals. Newton, meanwhile, was shooting 50 percent, making 9-of-18 attempts from the floor. Only an 8-of-10 showing at the free-throw line kept the Lady Cougars in striking range.
Newton upped its lead to 33-22 in the first two minutes of the third quarter and grabbed its biggest lead of the night at 39-25 on a steal and layup by Lenore Gray with 2:40 left in the third period.
At that point, Newton went cold as Newton County closed the period with a 7-0 run to pull to within 39-32 on Stephanie Airhart's buzzer-beater.
The Lady Cougars drew even for the first time since the opening period when a short jumper in the lane from Kristin Chaney tied the game at 41-41 with 3:11 to play.
Yolanda Johnson put Newton County up 45-43 with 1:46 left after Gray missed four straight free throws for Newton.
Chaney made 3-of-4 free throws, April Bufkin made 2-of-2, and Tamekia Foley made 1-of-2 over the final 1:05 as Newton County knocked off Newton for the fourth time in as many meetings this season.
The 6-of-8 free-throw shooting was needed as Kotreece Bender hit two baskets for Newton over the final 41 seconds.
Bufkin hit 9-of-12 free throws to lead Newton County, 19-2, with 11 points. Foley and Airhart both had eight, Chaney had seven, Lakelia Bogan had six, and Johnson had five.
Harris changed defenses in the fourth quarter and reaped rewards.
The second half play of Johnson also aided the comeback.
Newton, 12-11, got 14 points apiece from Bender and Gray, nine from Latonya Jordan, and six from Creoshia Williams.
Newton County finished the night making 19-of-30 free throws. Newton was 8-of-19 at the charity stripe.
Newton boys 71, Union 53: Lance Pruitt scored 26 points to lead the Tigers to the win in the first meeting of the two teams this season.
Pruitt had 20 points at halftime as the Tigers carried a 37-29 advantage into the break.
Newton led 53-42 entering the fourth quarter and enjoyed a double-digit lead the entire final period.
Newton, 16-6, also got 17 points from Bobby Lindsey, 11 from Mario Qualls, and nine from Terrell Edwards.
Union, 12-6, got 20 points from Derric Harris and 12 each from Trellis Mason and Prentiss Evans.