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Athlete of the Week
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You could see it in his eyes - sheer determination; a fire that screamed you cannot and you will not beat me.

It's the same mentality that Newton's Sean Monk has shared since competing against crosstown rival Eastside on the basketball court. Since Monk joined the Rams four years ago, he has yet to lose to the dark green and silver.

On Saturday, Monk lit up the Eagles for a game-high 24 points en route to a 53-48 victory. In addition, he had eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and three 3-pointers.

"It was a fun game because it's always competitive," said Monk. "It feels great to win; I don't like to lose at any time. So, it's great to get another win against them."

Based on his exceptional performance on the hardwood, Monk has been selected as the Chick-fil-A Prep Athlete of the Week.

"He played like the senior leader we know he can be," said Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen. "He was unselfish and did the little things that it took for us to win."

For the most part, the rivalry between the Rams and Eagles is a friendly one since most of the players know each other through various outlets such as middle school, AAU and basketball camps.

In fact, Monk is good friends with Eastside's Gabe Mathis, who led his team with 15 points against Newton on Saturday at the Nest.

But entering the game against Eastside, Monk had struggled during the season opener against Jackson due to a chest flu. Despite the Rams winning 65-44, he was 4-of-16 from the field and registered 10 points. Nevertheless, his performance against the Eagles made it all the more impressive, especially since he was still battling the illness.

According to Monk, he had been working on his shot all week in practice because he was still upset about his game against the Red Devils. And it showed against Douglass on Tuesday when he recorded a team-high 18 points, even though the Rams ultimately lost, 51-47.

"Sean has really stepped up," praised Rasmussen. "He is a very competitive player (who) doesn't like to lose, and works very hard in practice. He is tough to guard and understands the little things that we emphasis. He is a great student in the classroom, as well."

However, this season Monk has been called upon to do more than just score. His leadership - on and off the court - will be vital as to how successful Newton will actually be this year.

"I guess the first game it kind of got to me," admitted Monk regarding the responsibility of being a team leader. "It does weigh on my shoulders a little bit, but I (can) take it."

Knowing his teammates since middle school and hanging out together off the court no doubt helps bridge the relationship between Monk and his fellow Rams.

"We're kind of more than a team this year," said Monk. "We're playing together better than we did last season."

And that is a testament to No. 1.