COVINGTON -- A scare was put into a couple of Class AAAAA GACA top ranked teams as the No. 8 Newton boys and the No. 1 Redan girls barely escaped with wins Tuesday.
The Lady Rams fought to the end before losing 48-44 while the Newton boys held off the Raiders in their 46-44 decision.
Newton 46, Redan 44
Newton's (12-1 overall, 4-0 Region 2-AAAAA) basketball team ran up and down the court well in the first half, but having not played in two weeks took its toll on the output, as the team only scored seven points in the first period.
As Redan (3-8, 2-2) jumped out to a 12-7 lead, Derrick Henry, who finished with a game-high 19 points, kept the Rams in the game by scoring 11 points as the Raiders closed the first half with a 26-20 advantage.
The Rams started the second half keeping Redan off the board while scoring nine unanswered points and taking a 29-26 lead. Darius Miller led the effort to get the Rams back on track with his six, third-period points and forceful defensive play.
"He (Miller) stepped up and gave us a spark on offense and got more aggressive on defense," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "We talked about that at halftime. I'm glad he responded. He's got a lot of ability and we know he's very capable and we try to encourage him to be more offensive minded."
"We struggled to get into the flow of the game until the second half. I sort of felt like we were running on one less cylinder or something. We talked (at halftime) about turning it up and get more intensity and play through it. I think we had two quarters to get a feel for game speed again. I felt like we would play better and I was glad that we did."
Down but not out, Redan's Latarrance Carter, who paced his team with 13 points, hit a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game at 36. The Rams settled down to regain the lead, 45-38, before Redan charged back.
But Brandon Carlton's free throws with eight seconds put the game out of reach.
"It made it a two possession game when Brandon hit both so those were big. He's a good free-throw shooter and I was glad to see him knock them down," Rasmussen said.
"They pressured us, I knew they were never going to quit. We did enough down the stretch and I was glad. I think we had way too much time off. I don't think we've ever had that much time off before. It's hard to get back into it."
Redan 48, Newton 44
The Lady Raiders (12-0, 4-0) showed why they were the top ranked team in the state by building a 10-2 lead midway through the first period. Following Emili Russ' basket, Martice Hyman took the ball from end line to end line three times tying the game to end the opening period.
Russ' double-double paced the Lady Rams with 14 points and 11 rebounds with Hyman adding 11 points to Newton's total.
"I think out of the 12 on the team Emili is the most aware. She always knows what's going on, she's helping on defense, hustling on offense, and she played a complete game," Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said.
Trailing 22-17 after the second period, Newton (5-4, 1-3) came back to tie the game at 30 in the third frame. Before the frame ended, Redan pushed the Lady Rams back ending the period leading 34-32.
Newton actually took the lead briefly in the fourth quarter with less than 2:30 left in the game.
But not having Hyman, who fouled out with three minutes remaining in the game, at the end hurt Newton's chance to hold off Redan.
"The five that were in there, I thought they played a really good game not having Tay (Hyman) in there," Johnson said. "Not having her ball handling ability hurt. We couldn't get over that hump. When we stay in a couple of more games like that we'll start turning those over and we'll start getting those wins. I'm pleased though. I can go away with my head up. I told them to keep their heads up and their chests out. They played a heck of a game."
After Redan tied the game at 44, the Lady Raiders were able to score the final four points in the last minute to win the game.
Redan's Nia Evans led all scorers with 18 points with Alisha Andrews also scoring in double figures for the Lady Raiders with 12 points.
"I hated losing but I was definitely pleased with the effort," Johnson said. "I told the girls to fight and go hard. Don't even think about winning or losing, just leave it all on the floor. If you do that, you'll get the results you want."