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Posted: July 2, 2014 4:45 p.m.

Rams finish strong

Deep sophomore class shows promise

From June 13 to June 28 the Newton Rams played about 30 games in preparation for the season that is still months away, as they went 21-9 overall.

The Rams finished up their summer season yesterday in the semifinals of the Mercer camp tournament.

“We went 7-2 at Mercer and got our top 10 guys some valuable experience and gave them a chance to show us what they could do as well,” Rams’ head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “We learned the value of fundamentals and the little things that we always preach, and the Mercer coaches echoed those sentiments when they spoke on Friday to the entire camp.”

“Overall, going 21-9 with just one returning starter who was injured part of the time is very solid.”

There were over 20 varsity teams at the camp according to Rasmussen, and Newton finished third with Darvin Jones sitting out the last 5 games there due to an achilles heel injury that has been bugging him since before Newton started playing summer games.

“We are hoping he can be 100 percent next season so he can play at his best,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen added that he was pleased with where the team is as of now. According to Rasmussen, the Rams had four different sophomores start in games and two juniors, only one of which was on our varsity last year.

“Some of the guys who really impressed us with their improvement this summer from the beginning of June to the end were senior center Antonio Smith, who wasn't on the varsity last year, junior guard Jaquan Simms, junior wing Marvin Boireau and senior Donovan Grubb,” Rasmussen said.

“We are hoping our returning seniors step up their games by next Fall, as some of the sophomores and juniors out played them this summer.”

Grubb lead the Rams in scoring this summer, and Rasmussen said that Simms played increasingly better as the camps progressed. Rasmussen was pleased with the potential he saw in sophomores Josh Tukes, Janaud Notae and Jeremiah Holloman.

Rasmussen added that his boys deserve a break before they start playing AAU ball in the months of July and August. With the potential of his sophomore class, Rasmussen is excited to start the new season in the fall.

“My staff and I are looking forward with anticipation for next season,” Rasmussen said. “I was very pleased with the great attitudes of this group of young men, and I know they will represent NHS and our program and their families well next season and beyond. Our sophomore class is really, really deep, so we are excited about the next 3 years.”

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