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Posted: January 31, 2012 8:01 p.m.

Patriots fall in bruising battle with Rams

Heritage stepped out of Region 8-AAAA play Tuesday, traveling one county over to face Newton.

Newton swept the Patriots, coming away with a 60-41 win against the girls, and a 73-52 win against the boys.

With neither team shooting particularly well from the field, the girls' game end up being decided at the foul line, with the Lady Rams making 28 of 38 free throws (74 percent).

The first quarter was the Danyel Fourney show as she attacked the basket and scored 10 of her team-high 14 points for the Lady Rams. Heritage trailed 17-10 lead as the quarter ended.

Behind an 8-for-12 performance from the free-throw line, Newton led 27-18 at halftime. The third quarter was fairly even and Heritage trailed 38-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

Shots finally started to fall for the Lady Rams in the fourth quarter and they ran away with a 19-point win, 60-41. Emili Russ and Precious Price joined Fourney in double figures with 10 and 11 respectively. Mikola Burks just missed double figures as she netted seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter. Tai Avery also chipped in with seven points.

"It was nice to finish off a road week with our third win and sixth in a row overall," Rasmussen said. "We did a much better job on the boards against them this time. We have been a good rebounding team all year and that needs to continue if we are going to be successful down the stretch."

In the boys game, the Rams came out on fire in the first quarter and scored at will while building a 22-14 lead. Stephen Croone popped in 13 of his game high 21 points in the period and Shane Henry added seven of his total 13.

The second quarter saw balanced scoring by the visitors and it resulted in a 16 point lead, 38-22, as the half ended.

In the third quarter Justin Thompson and Rashard Cabane took over for the Rams. J.T. had seven of his 16 points in the stanza and Cabane added six of his eight as the Newton lead increased to 55-32 as the period ended.

 Croone added three assists and four steals to his 21 points while Thompson had seven helpers, three steals and three rebounds with his 16.

Shane Henry notched another double-double as he collected 12 boards, four blocks, two assists and took a charge to go along with his 13 points. Overall the Rams out rebounded Heritage by a 38-25 margin and forced twice as many turnovers.

"The Big Three of J.T., Stephen and Shane played extremely well today controlling inside and outside," said Coach Rasmussen. "They played like seniors should and we need their leadership to continue."

The quickness of the Ram guards showed as they were fouled numerous times attacking the basket. Led by Thompson's 10 of 12 free throws, Newton hit 25 of 33 shots from the charity stripe (76 percent), while Heritage only managed 10 of 16 (63 percent).

The one bright spot for Heritage was their shooting from three-point range. They landed eight of 19 shots from long distance for 42 percent and were led by Dave Rowe's 16 points. A total of five different Patriots hit a three in the game. But in the end it was too much Newton and another 20-point win for the Rams.

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