The Rams' state playoff run stopped on a cold Thursday night at Wheeler High School, with a large number of Newton fans tucked inside Wheeler's gym hoping to see the Newton boys basketball team pull of yet another upset. Three days later and the buzz has died, but the players and head coach Rick Rasmussen will always know how it all came together.
Even with the winter weather we experienced this past week, spring sports are off and running in full affect. The Newton High School baseball team has already got into the middle of their non-region schedule. Due to several rain-outs, Newton had only played two games until Friday evening where they were looking to get a win over the MLK Lions. Going into the game 0-2, Newton needed this win to kick start the season, but couldn't get it done and fell 8-4 to the Lions.
Newton junior guard Jaquan Sims will play in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) North/South All-Star boys basketball game. Sims will replace an injured player, as he was named an alternate for the contest, when rosters were being picked. Players from all over Georgia will participate in the contest. There is a game for juniors and one for seniors. Rams' guard D.J. Hill was also named as an alternate, but it has not yet been announced if he'll play in the game.
The third time wasn't the charm for Newton (22-9, 5-5 Region 2-AAAAAA), a team that had been on a wild Cinderella run in the state playoffs with upsets over powerhouse Tift County and Dacula. The favorites to win it all in 6-AAAAAA, Wheeler (28-2) and No. 2 player in the nation Jaylen Brown, ended the Rams' season with a 72-54 win.
Man, what a run it was. Newton played the underdog three times in the state playoffs, first upsetting Tift County – originally a favorite to at least make the elite eight – then beating Dacula in the sweet sixteen. However, Newton couldn't best Wheeler in the elite eight and fell to the Wildcats 72-54.
No. Way. There was no way Newton would go down and beat defending Region 2-AAAAAA state champion Tift County as a No. 4 seed, versus the second-ranked team in the state. Not in Tift. Not a team that was 26-1, undefeated in their region and hadn't lost a game since January 8.
The Lady Rams of Newton have been in a bunch of close games all year. They beat Tucker by two in their first game of the season, they beat Alcovy on a putback buzzer beater, they survived to beat Eastside and Rockdale by one and they beat Heritage by three. This would leave you to believe that when Newton had the ball down one, with a little less than 30 seconds left that they'd pull out a victory and win the region championship.
Being a football coach in today's world is a complicated and draining occupation that has it highs and lows. Your biggest duty is to teach and motivate your players to become better on the field, and turn that into winning football games. That itself is not a walk in the park with complexities and other outside distractions that can happen; it's very complicated to build a winning team.
Rivalry game after rivalry game, fans take to social media, the local barbershops and pretty much any place where you can strike up a normal conversation to discuss which school/team is the best. Between the two counties there are six high schools, all vying for bragging rights. We decided to end the talk and put it on paper (actually computer, because technology, but you get it). Every team has pretty much ended its regular season and region tournaments are set to begin next week. The following list has been compiled based on regular season wins, regions wins, wins against ...