Cougars take top spot

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

The Newton County Cougars had to win both games this week to be the No. 1 seed in this week’s Division 5-4A tournament.

That’s exactly what they did as they beat Quitman 44-43 on Tuesday night and hammered Northeast Jones 61-47 on Thursday night.

The Lady Cougars beat Quitman 42-31 on Senior night and dropped a 43-42 decision to league-leader Northeast Jones on Thursday night.

The Cougars head into the 5-4A tournament with a record of 18-7 on the year and 7-3 in 5-4A play, winning their last four in region play to take the regular-season title. As the No. 1 seed, they get a first-round bye and will play the winner of Mendenhall and Northeast Lauderdale on Thursday at 7 p.m. at West Lauderdale. The Cougars split with both teams in the regular season.

The Lady Cougars finished the regular season with a 12-11 record and were 7-3 in 5-4A play and were the No. 3 seed. They will play No. 6 seed Mendenhall on Tuesday at 7 p.m. If the Lady Cougars win that game, they would play on Thursday at 7 p.m. at West Lauderdale.

County boys 44, Quitman 43

East Central Community College signee Jalin Nicholson hit a jump shot at the buzzer to beat Quitman on Tuesday night.

The game was tied at 6-6 with 2:41 left in the first when the Cougars scored eight straight points to end the period as Chris Mulford and an old-fashioned 3-point play and Jalin Nicholson drained a long-distance 3-pointer as County led 14-6 at the end of the first.

The Cougars pushed the lead to as much as 13 points on back-to-back buckets by Mulford with the last coming at 1:56 left in the half to give the Cougars a 26-13 lead. The Panthers hit a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to go into halftime down 26-16.

After leading by 10 with 1:57 left in the third, Newton County seemed in control. That’s when

seemed in control. That’s when Quitman got a steal and slam by John Lacey with 36.1 left in the third trailed 32-26 going into the fourth.

From there, Quitman outscored Newton County 14-3 and led 40-35 with 2:38 left to play. But Nicholson hit a 3-pointer with 2:15 left to cut the lead to 40-38. Three free throws by Quitman built the lead to 43-38 but the Cougars scored the game’s last six points to take the win.

Nicholson led Newton County with 18 points while Chris Mulford had 18 points. John Lacey led Quitman with 18 points.

County girls 42, Quitman 31

The Lady Cougars outscored the Lady Panthers in every period as they took an 11-point win on senior night.

Newton County led 10-9 at the end of the first period and outscored Quitman 11-6 in the second and led 21-15 at the half. The Lady Cougars were able to hold the lead throughout the second half as they outscored the Lady Panthers 9-6 in the third and 12-10 in the fourth.

Tiffany Wilson led Newton County with 13 points while Chelsea Giles added seven points.

County boys 61, NE  Jones 47

The Cougars wrapped up the Division 5-4A regular-season title as they hammered Northeast Jones by 14 points on Thursday night.

County outscored Northeast in every period to take the win as they led 16-11 at the end of the first and 31-21 at the half. County continued to hold Northeast at bay in the second half as they outscored the Tigers 17-16 in the third and 13-10 in the fourth.

Peyton Reeves had a big night with 17 points to lead the Cougars while Jalin Nicholson had 13 points. Jarius Huddleston had 12 points and Chris Mulford added 10 points.

NE Jones 43, County 42

Newton County dropped its second straight decision to the Lady Tigers.

In a tight game, Northeast led 10-9 at the end of the first and outscored the Lady Cougars 14-11 in the second to lead 24-20 at the half. The Lady Cougars pulled within one in the third period as they outscored the Lady Tigers 13-10 to make the score 34-33 heading into the fourth where each team scored nine points apiece.

Sharandon Isom led Newton County with 12 points while Chelsea Giles had 10 points. Shantasia John had nine points while Tiffany Wilson added six points.