Tigers win title in 3OTsBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
Even when his Newton Tigers trailed by double digits in the fourth period, Newton boys basketball coach Darin Gray never doubted his team.
The Tigers turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth, forced overtime and eventually took a 68-65 win over Scott Central in triple overtime to win the Division 4-2A Tournament championship on Friday night at Union High School.
The Tigers improve to 20-6 on the season and will host a first-round playoff game on Tuesday. The Tigers will host Strayhorn at either Newton High or East Central on Tuesday due to electrical problems at the school's gym.
For Gray and the Tigers, it was another division championship but one that saw his team behind for most of the game to a Scott Central team they had beaten twice in the regular season.
"I'm really proud of them," Gray said. "I thought they showed a lot of heart and determination. Scott Central is a really good, athletic team. Their coach was my assistant for four or five years and knows my calls and had a good game plan for us. I just thought that if we could get close in the fourth that we would find a way to pull it out."
Scott Central led for most of the first half as they led 7-5 at the end of the first and 17-14 at the half. The Rebels built a lead in the third period as they outscored Newton 21-12 to lead 36-26 heading to the fourth.
But the Tigers outscored the Rebels 21-11 to send the game into overtime. The game then went into three overtimes as it was tied at 47, 53 and 60 points. But the Tigers got a big 3-pointer from Javarious Moore to seal the win.
Moore, who was named the tournament MVP, led the Tigers with 24 points while Dazmeon Page had 12 points and Jamarion Pace added 10 points.
"JBird (Moore) did an awesome job," Gray said. "He just took over the game in the fourth and in overtime. He's one of the better athletes in the district and showed it tonight. He's just a freak of nature. And he's a great kid as well. He's just got the full package."
Newton boys 69, Union 36
After splitting games in the regular season, the Tigers took the rubber match as they blasted the homestanding Yellowjackets on Thursday night in the tournament semifinals.
The Tigers doubled up the Yellowjackets in the first period, jumping out to a 14-6 lead. The Tigers then put the game away in the second as they outscored Union 23-10 to take a 37-16 lead at the half. Newton continued to extend its lead in the second half, outscoring Union 18-14 in the third and 14-6 in the fourth.
Brandon Payne led Newton with 18 points while Dazmeon Page had 12 points. Javarious Moore had nine points while Jamarian Pace added eight points.