A busy summer proved to be a successful one for the Newton boys' basketball team.
The Rams held three weeks of practice before competing in several exhibition games and then participated in the North Georgia Hoops League, a University of Georgia summer camp and a 3 Day Camp at Georgia College and State University.
Today the Rams finish up their whirlwind winning summer.
Entering the camp at UGA on June 23 Newton was 8-0 before running its record up to 10-0 with wins over Tatnall County and Mill Creek on the main floor of Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum.
Rashard Cabane had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 49-23 win over Tatnall County, and junior forward Taylor Hawkins tallied 14 points in a 38-35 win over Class A's top five ranked Mill Creek.
The Rams then lost for the first time of the summer, but fell to two Georgia powerhouses.
Miller Grove, defending four-time state champion, defeated the Rams 49-40 with a 17-point, 13-rebound effort from Cabane.
Cabane, the Rams' 6-foot post player, stepped up again against Tucker, which features a player 6-foot-5, another at 6-foot-7 and another at 6-foot-9. Cabane had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Jalen Glover had 17 points and Kishon Rogers finished with 12 points in a 55-54 loss to Tucker.
"The team has stepped up and competed hard," Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said. "I am very pleased with their unselfishness and toughness. They have shown great heart. We don't use our lack of size as an excuse. We have been outworking and out hustling teams."
Following their stay at UGA, the Rams moved on to Georgia College and State where they got back on the winning track.
Cabane continued to step up as the 2013 Rams' player to watch, but this time on the defensive end taking four charges in a 41-38 win over Claxton.
The Rams out rebounded Claxton 24-15 and Kishon Rogers made all four of his free throws down the stretch to seal it. Rogers and Jalen Glover both finished with 10 points and Cabane had 11.
In a 54-33 win over George Walton Academy, Newton forced 27 turnovers, coming up with 19 steals.
Glover scored 12 points, and Cabane led the way with 16 points, five steals and five rebounds. Taylor Hawkins tallied five steals.
While defense got Newton through the first two games at Georgia College and State, offense was the key in the third.
Newton made 68 percent of its shots, including going 7 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half during a 76-32 win over Hebron Christian.
Rodarius Mitchell was 5 of 7 from long range in the first half, tallying 17 points. Brandon Lybrand went 3 of 4 from downtown in the second half, scoring 13 points off the bench.
Sophomore point guard DJ Hill added eight points, seven assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Newton shot 55 percent for the game, including 10 of 19 3s.
Newton finished up the first day at Georgia College and State on Monday beating Whitewater 51-38. Hawkins shut down Whitewater's top player, holding him to just eight points.
"Taylor is a great defender and is super tough to score on," Rasmussen said. "He has been huge this summer."
Cabane scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had four steals for the Rams against Whitewater.
Newton finished up Tuesday with a 49-39 win over Duluth to move to 17-2 throughout the summer.
"This group has been a pleasure to coach this summer," Rasmussen said. "They are tough and hungry and find a way to get it done again and again. We are building chemistry and getting better each day. Our returners have stepped up as have our guys from the JV and 9th-grade team last year."
Newton is using the summer to build a core group after the loss of two college players, Stephen Croone and Shane Henry.
"Our program is in a good place, because our kids buy in and want to be here," Rasmussen said. "They get after it on defense and play together on offense."