NEWTON - It was all smiles on senior night for the Newton Lady Tigers as they dismantled the Union Lady Jackets 52-41, clinching the district championship with an 8-0 league record. 

The first quarter was a defensive slugfest as neither team shot the ball well in the early going. Union went on a 7-0 run at one point and lead through most of the first 8:00 minutes, but Newton rallied late to tie the score at 12. 

The Lady Jackets started the second quarter on an 8-3 run and went up 20-15, but the game stayed close because of turnovers and poor free throw shooting. Newton went up 22-21, before Union’s Madison Buckley scored just before the horn to give UHS a 24-22 halftime lead. 

In the third quarter, missed free throws and fouls continued to pile up as Newton went on a 7-0 run to take their largest lead at 34-28. The Lady Tigers outscored Union 12-4 in the third quarter. 

Newton busted the game wide open, outscoring the Lady Jackets 14-5 to start the final period and they never looked back. 

The Lady Jackets finish the regular season at 21-6, while Newton, the defending state champion finishes their regular season at 16-8. Keirra Russell led Union with 12 points, including three 3-point baskets, while Trinity Lambert added 8 points. 

It’s been an up and down season for the Newton boys basketball team, but they put on a show of dominance on Friday night, beating the Union Yellow Jackets 56-42 at home in front of a packed gym at Newton High School. 

It took almost four minutes for either team to score in the first quarter, before Jada Russell scored to break the seal for Union. Union led 6-5 after a low-scoring 8 minutes of action. The second quarter featured technical fouls, charges, and a pounding dunk by UHS Jamarcus Jones.

Union ended that low-scoring first half with an 18-14 lead, but the second half had plenty of fireworks. 

The Tigers fed off their home crowd and charged into the lead 26-23, going on a 9-0 run. Newton didn’t stop there, and outscored Union 29-13 in the third quarter, extending their lead to 43-31 headed into the final quarter. 

By the time Coach Darnell put in his bench lineup, Newton had ballooned the lead to 51-31 and that was all she wrote for the Yellow Jackets.

Union finished the regular season with a 20-6 overall record, while Newton closed their regular season at 11-14. 

J.T. Vance led the Jackets with 13 points, while Jamarcus Jones turned in 8 points in a solid return from a bout with the flu, including that emphatic dunk earlier in the game. 

Postseason basketball will begin with the 2A district semifinals on Thursday at Newton High School.