Both Newton teams come up one game short of JacksonBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
The basketball season came to an abrupt end for both Newton basketball teams this past week.
The Tigers lost 55-37 to South Delta on Saturday night while the Lady Tigers lost 57-47 to Coahoma on Friday night.
The Tigers finish the season at 22-7 while the Lady Tigers finish at 23-5.
Newton boys 58, Strayhorn 39
Brandon Payne's defense was on display on Tuesday night as the senior guard took five charging calls and scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Tigers to a 58-39 win over Strayhorn in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs.
The game was never really in doubt as Strayhorn only had the lead at 4-3 with 5:36 left in the first. From there, the Tigers went on a 21-0 run, fueled by four 3-pointers, two apiece from Payne and Javarious Moore as Newton led 24-6 at the end of the first.
"I think we came out pretty strong and set the tone in the first quarter," Newton boys coach Darin Gray said. "After we got that lead in the first quarter, we just tried to hang on to that. And getting that lead in the first quarter was huge for us."
Payne had one of his better nights in recent weeks with the 24 points and five charges on defense.
"Brandon stepped up and took some big charges," Gray said. "I think that is how we play, taking charges and playing defense. It takes a lot of heart to do that and these kids don't mind doing it. I tell our kids that if your offense isn't clicking, get in there and play hard defense and get you a couple of steals and some layups. Brandon kind of did that tonight. I thought him taking the charges kind of fueled him."
From there, Newton continued to step on the gas and scored the last eight points of the half to lead 40-17 at the break.
Newton cruised in the second half and took the 19-point win.
After Payne's 24 points, Moore had 19 points for the Tigers.
Newton girls 44, Strayhorn 22
The Newton Lady Tigers flexed their muscles in the opening game on Tuesday night, taking a 22-point win.
The Lady Tigers dominated the action early as they led 11-3 at the end of the first and 24-4 at the half. The Lady Tigers stretched that lead to 36-8 at the end of the third.
Newton coach Perry Fletcher was glad his Lady Tigers got to play at home after an electrical issue almost forced the game to be moved.
"I thought playing at home and the home-court advantage really calmed their nerves," Fletcher said. "The girls are excited and came out and played hard from the beginning."
Myja McNichols and Ja'Leah Hickmon led Newton (23-4) with 12 points apiece while Nia McCalphia added eight points.
Coahoma girls 57, Newton 47
Coahoma built a big first-half lead as they took a 12-point win over the homestanding Tigers on Friday night.
Coahoma jumped out to a 13-8 lead in the first and outscored Newton 17-6 in the second to lead 30-14 at the half. Newton cut into the lead in the second half but was unable to cut into the lead.
Ja'Leah Hickmon led Newton with 17 points while Nia McCalphia had 15 points.
South Delta 55, Newton 37
South Delta used big bookend periods to take an 18-point win over the Tigers on Saturday.
South Delta jumped out to an 18-9 lead in the first period. Newton fought back in the second, outscoring South Delta 16-10 in the second to make the score 28-25 at the half. South Delta pulled away in the second half as they outscored Newton 14-8 in the third and 13-4 in the fourth.
Javarious Moore led Newton with 15 points.