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PREP BASKETBALL: Rams win Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic
Sugar Bowl
The Newton Rams boys basketball team recently won the Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic in Louisiana. (PopScout Hoops) - photo by Special to The Covington News

WESTWEGO, La. — When the Newton Rams traveled to Louisiana to compete in the 2022 Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic last weekend, they had one thing in mind: win. And that they did. 

Even though the Rams faced some tough competition from all over the country, they attacked each opponent head on and brought the trophy back to Covington. 

Head coach Charlemagne Gibbons was proud of his team’s performance. 

“To go 4-0 over there does show that we’re growing into consistent play game in and game out,” Gibbons said. “That’s one of the things I took away from the tournament.” 

Round one took place on Thursday, Jan. 6 when Newton faced John Curtis Christian out of River Ridge, Louisiana. The Rams cruised to a 77-53 win over the Patriots to advance. 

Things just got better for Newton from there. 

In the next round, the Rams played against St. Mary’s High School from Phoenix, Arizona and won 68-53. Newton’s third game against Westminster Academy based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, featured the Rams’ biggest win of the tournament. 

Newton won 65-36 punching its ticket to the championship round to face Beaumont United out of Beaumont, Texas. 

This matchup was much closer than the previous three, but that didn’t deter the Rams from their mission of winning it all. 

They were victorious over the Timberwolves 67-54 to bring home the championship. 

But the championship trophy wasn’t the only piece of hardware the Rams brought back to 1 Ram Way. 

Jakai Newton, who averaged 21 points in the tournament, was voted as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. His contributions included a 25-point, 7-rebound performance to help the Rams down Beaumont United in the final round. 

In addition to Jakai Newton’s individual award, Stephon Castle earned a spot on the All-Tournament team, too. 

Lastly, Jabaz Jenkins was recognized prior to the championship game and received the $1,500 AllState Sugar Bowl Scholarship award for his community service.

All in all, it was indeed a successful weekend for the Rams basketball team. Going 4-0 improves their record to 13-1 and solidifies their No. 21 national ranking by MaxPreps. Newton began region play on Tuesday, Jan. 11, too, with a home matchup against Parkview. 

After this tournament win, Gibbons wants to see the same approach to each game moving forward as his team had with the Sugar Bowl Classic. 

“The mental endurance and consistency that we played with is where I’d like to keep it each game,” Gibbons said. “And, if we are able to go there, I think that gives us an opportunity to be fighting for a state championship.”