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Rams celebrate basketball season with awards banquet
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The Newton High boys basketball program put a final stamp on the 2007-2008 season as it celebrated its annual awards banquet last Thursday at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Players, coaches and family members enjoyed a meal sponsored by the Hard Luck Café of Covington before the presentation of awards. Ninth graders, junior varsity and varsity players were all recognized for their contributions during the past season.

Although the varsity came up just short of making the state tournament, they still managed an impressive 17-9 overall record, the only squad in Newton County to post a winning mark.

The future looks bright for the program as the freshmen sported a 12-4 mark, while the JV finished at 12-3.

Most of the awards presented were voted on by players and coaches. But several awards were based on statistics only.

Freshman coach Sean Cahill began the awards presentation by recognizing Davon Mann as the frosh academic award winner. Mann also garnered the Most Improved Award. Cadarius Terrell received the Sportsmanship Award, while Akeem Hunt was voted the Best Defense Award. The final freshman award went to Tyree Williams for Most Valuable Player.

JV coach Eddie Hood then recognized his award winners. Sophomore Chris Wyatt made straight A's in the first semester, earning the academic award. Newcomer Matt Powell earned the sportsmanship award, while Windell Darrington was voted Most Improved Player.

The last two award winners each saw significant playing time with the varsity squad while also starting for the JV. Freshman Derrick Henry drew accolades from Hood for his quick hands and feet, earning the Best Defensive Award. Charles "Big Chuck" Edwards became a force as the season progressed to earn the Most Valuable Player Award.

Coach Rick Rasmussen and assistant coach Joe Adams then presented the awards to the varsity team.

Senior Sean Monk corralled the Academic Award while sporting a 94.6 percent average. This year saw two new statistical awards added: the Take Charge Award, sponsored by the Hard Luck Café, and the Ball Handling Award, which honors the player with the highest assist to turnover ratio.

Montrell "Big Hops" Grimes took 12 charges to earn the first Take Charge Award and Tee Farley finished with a 2.3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio to win the inaugural Ball Handling Award.

Jonathan Turner received the Sportsmanship Award while Omar "Omeazy" Crawley was voted as the Most Valuable Substitute. After earning the JV MVP Award, Edwards then took home the Most Improved Award. Junior Jamon Hawkins received the Best Defensive Award for the second year in a row.

Hawkins was also recognized for his selection to the 2-AAAAA All-Region Team.

Tevin "Spider-Man" Bradley's hard work night in and night out earned him the Best Effort Award. For the first time in Rasmussen's tenure at Newton High School, co-MVP's were selected. Seniors Sean Monk and Montrell Grimes shared the prestigious award.

Rasmussen thanked his departing seniors for all their work and wished them well in their future. He challenged the remaining players to keep working in the offseason and to be ready when workouts started this summer.

With his backcourt returning - Hawkins and Farley - Rasmussen has high hopes for next season.