COVINGTON -- Newton had little to no trouble getting past Fayette County Thursday night in their home-opener and the play of Ashanti Wright was a big reason why.
The senior connected on two first-quarter three pointers and finished with a team-high 14 points to help lead the Rams to a dominant 61-39 victory over the Tigers in front of their home crowd.
“She’s been waiting on that,” Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson said of Wright’s three-pointers. “I’m glad that she finally got that off of her shoulders and hopefully that continues throughout the season.”
As a team, the Rams shot 37 percent of the field including 44 percent in the second half.
Johnson commended her team on their fast start against the Tigers. The Rams built an early 10-0 lead and led 17-5 at the end of the first quarter.
“It’s always good when you start well,” Johnson said. “It gave us the juice that we needed to finish the game. I’m very pleased with the way that we started the game.”
The Rams held the Tigers to just one made shot in the first quarter and five in the second quarter. Wright scored eight of her 14 points in the opening frame while Ashleigh Norris knocked down her one and only shot of the game - a 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in the first.
Alise Akridge extended the Rams led to 24-13 midway through the second quarter with a three-pointer before Tijunna Freeman (11 points) knocked down a three-pointer of her own later on to extend their lead to 28-13.
At halftime, the Rams led the Tigers 33-17
After attempting 40 shots in the first half, the Rams cut that number down to 27 in the second half. The Rams shot an efficient 7 of 18 in the third quarter with Wright and Je-nya Smith (7 points) each scoring four points.
Leading the Tigers 48-26 heading into the fourth quarter, the Rams knocked down five more shots to secure the victory.
All-in-all, 11 different Rams scored in the win, something Johnson was happy to see with what will be an important stretch of games prior to the start of region play.
“Most definitely,” Johnson said. “Especially when we move on into January with those big region games. It will help keep everyone healthy, keep everyone motivated and keep everyone fresh on the floor. Hopefully we can outlast some teams.”