If Thursday night was any sign as to how the Newton boys basketball team will perform this season, then great things are in store for the blue and white.
The Rams rolled past the Monroe Area Hurricanes 65-34 on the road during an exhibition match, marking their first test of the year.
"It was an exciting and fun way to start the season," said Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen. "I felt like we really came out ready to play and took them out of their game immediately. Our defense was outstanding in the first half, and our offense was running on all cylinders."
Just how dazzling was that defense? At the end of the first half the Rams led 34-5. Seven different players scored in the second quarter alone, as they outscored the Hurricanes 24-2 during that period.
Overall, four players reached double figures for the Rams, including Jamon Hawkins (13), Sean Monk (12), Tevin Bradley (11) and Montrell Grimes (10).
Hawkins also had 5 assists and 4 steals, while Grimes recorded a team-high 7 rebounds. In addition, Crawley added 6 boards off the bench.
"I am proud of the kids for playing so well together and making the unselfish plays that it takes for us to win basketball games," complimented Rasmussen. "We are at our best when we make the extra pass and don't force bad shots. We have a lot of weapons offensively, so if we just share the ball we are tough to guard."
Last year the Rams enjoyed a similar result against Monroe Area during an exhibition match at home, winning 79-40 in convincing fashion. Plus, four Newton players scored in double figures in that particular game, as well.
"We still need to work on rebounding and overall toughness to negate our lack of size, especially since there are so many big kids in our region," noted Rasmussen. "If we can do that, I think we'll be alright."
According to Rasmussen, the win was instrumental as it will allow his team to work on areas needing improvement over the holiday break. The keys will be to remain focused and implement maturity in order to maximize team productivity during that time.
"We are eager to take on (Jackson) and see how ready and tough we really are," said Rasmussen. "If we can play hard and compete with heart, I'll think we'll have a chance at another great season."
The season opener for the Rams begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 27 against Jackson.