LITHIA — Despite the final score, Newsome basketball coach Jon Mackey could look at the scorebook and smile.
The Wolves' scrappy trap defense kept them in the game against King on Thursday night — making offense a struggle for the high-octane Lions — so much so that Newsome was one last-possession 3-pointer from knocking off the only district unbeaten.
"We're just a step behind," Mackey said. "As big as they are, I'm proud of the way our kids played."
But the Lions survived 48-44, thanks to clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch.
With senior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick in foul trouble throughout, sophomore forward Reshard Brown picked up the scoring load. He scored 10 of his team-high 16 in the fourth period and was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, including six free-throw conversions in the fourth period.
"That was pretty big," Brown said.
"We're a team," Lions coach Sam Lanier said. "When someone struggles, we have other guys who can pick him up."
King (5-0) broke open a tie game with an 11-2 run to end the first half, taking a 22-14 lead into the locker room.
Newsome, outsized by a team with a pair of 6-foot-7 starters and another two who are 6-4, still kept a Lions team that scores 68.5 points per game well below its average.
"We have to do different things to keep the other team off balance," Mackey said.
"It was frustrating," Lanier said of Newsome's trap. "One because they're good at it, and two because we practiced it (Wednesday) in practice. We knew they were going to trap us."
The Wolves (4-2) utilized their trap late in the fourth, fueling an 8-0 run in the final minute to come within two. They had possession with 21.8 seconds remaining but lost the ball in the post. Brown clinched the win with two free throws.
Newsome junior Samal Shepherd scored 10 of his game-high 23 in the fourth and junior Jake Hodges added 12 for the Wolves. Andrew Donaldson added nine for King and Chauncey Day and Fitzpatrick added seven apiece.