Newton's Ashleigh Norris shoots a floater against South Gwinnett Wednesday night in the first round of the Region 8-AAAAAAA tournament. 

SNELLVILLE -- The Newton girls made quick work of sixth-seeded South Gwinnett Wednesday night and defeated the Comets 52-17 in the first round of the Region 8-AAAAAAA tournament.

With the win, the Rams clinch a spot in the upcoming state tournament and will face No. 2 seed Archer in the tournament’s semifinals on Friday.

Sophomore Ashleigh Norris led the way with 14 points while senior Ashanti Wright chipped in with 12. Tijunna Freeman was the next closest Ram with seven points.

The Rams (17-9) jumped out to a 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and added to their lead in the second with 14 more points. At the break, Newton led the Comets 26-9.

Four different Rams scored in the third quarter. Sophomore La’rekia Terrell scored twice in the quarter, as did Wright. Heading into the fourth, Newton held a commanding 38-15 lead. In the fourth, the Rams out-scored the Comets 14-2 to finish the game off with a 35-point win.

“We’re definitely happy,” Newton head coach Tiffani Johnson said. “I loved the energy and the teamwork that we came with today. Everyone was intense and the energy level was what we’ve been looking for. Hopefully that carries over with us into Friday.”

The Rams were swept by Archer in their two regular-season meetings. The Rams led for the first three quarters in their most recent loss to the Tigers and Johnson is hoping to finally break through when it matters the most on Friday.

“We have to want it,” Johnson said. “We know each other very well, so it’s really just going to come down to who shows the most heart and who wants that orange ball more than anyone else. As long as we come out there and we show that we want it more, I think we’ll be OK.”

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Sports Editor

A 2017 graduate of the University of North Georgia, Colin joined the Rockdale/Newton Citizen in March of 2018 as the papers' full-time sports editor. A 2013 graduate of Jackson County High School, Colin received a golf scholarship to Andrew College.

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