SUWANEE -- The Newton boys basketball team opened the inaugural Jared Cook Holiday Classic by remaining undefeated in a 69-30 opening-round win over Spartanburg (S.C.) at North Gwinnett High School
"We have never lost an opening round game in a tournament in five years, and we didn't lose that one so that's a good start," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "We have to take one game at a time."
The Rams (10-0) dominated for much of the game with great performances by Derrick Henry, who had a game-high 15 points, and Chuck Edwards, who added 11.
"(Henry and Edwards) are two of our returning starters, so I am not surprised that they played well," Rasmussen said. "Those two guys are capable and very experienced and we expect them to play well."
Newton will face Richmond Academy in the semifinals 5 p.m. today.
"Right now, we are looking at Richmond Academy. They were in the final four of the state tournament in AAAA last season," Rasmussen said. "They are a formidable opponent."
The Newton girls dominated their opening round game as well, cruising past Colquitt County 55-40.
"It was a great team effort," Lady Rams coach Tiffany Johnson said. "We came out intense, so I am very pleased with the win."
Newton (6-3), which won its third consecutive game, pulled away from the Lady Packers with a late first-half run. Junior combo guard Qaiserah Shariff (game-high 16 points) led the way for the Lady Rams, who will face the winner of Berkmar-North Gwinnett in the semifinals at 6:35 p.m. today.
"(Shariff) played hard for today. She played with a lot of intensity," added Johnson.