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The Newton boys' basketball team has consistently been one of the most successful in the area over the last couple of year, winning back-to-back region titles, before finishing as runner up in 2012.

Big reasons for the successful campaigns of 2010-11 and 2011-12 recently signed letters of intent as Stephen Croone and Shane Henry finalized their college plans Wednesday.

Henry was with the team for his junior and senior seasons, while Croone was a starter in his senior and junior season, and was a member of the rotation off the bench during his sophomore season.

Henry will be playing at Georgia Perimeter, while Croone signed with Division I Furman.

Croone averaged 20 points, 3.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals, one charge taken and one block per game during the 2011-12 season for Newton.
He was the runner up for Region 2-AAAAA's Player of the Year, and led the region in points per game.

Croone is headed to Furman due to his scoring prowess, which began from an early age. Croone started playing basketball at the age of four, and continued playing for one simple reason.

"I just liked putting the ball in the hoop," Croone said.

After playing his last game at Newton, Croone participated in the Georgia Athletics Coaches Association All-Star game, scoring 12 points. He was also named the GACA AAAAA South Senior Player of the year and named to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Honorable Mention All-State team in 2012, after earning first team honors in 2011.

Croone chose Furman over Wofford, Northeastern, Alabama State, Rider, St. Francis (Pa.), North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and other Division I schools.

"I played for four years here where it was really a family environment and a good program," Croone said. "And that's what I felt at Furman."

Henry is also headed to a school that is excited to have him in Georgia Perimeter College.

GPC discovered Henry when the coaching staff attended Newton's 67-55 win over M.L.King on Jan. 14.

Alfred Barney, head coach of Georgia Perimeter College, continued to look at Henry throughout the rest of the year.

Barney watched a couple of Henry's games to see how he would fit in as a small forward.

At 6-foot-5 Henry was named the region's top big man, playing the center position.

At GPC he will play small forward, and Barney needed to see how his game would translate off the post.

College coaches also like to see a kid who averaged almost a double-double per game and tallied a triple double.

Against M.L.King Henry had 17 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks, helping lead to 9.5 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game and 4.1 rebounds per game in the 2011-12 season.

"That is ridiculous," Rasmussen said. "Those are incredible stats."

Henry was named to the 2012 All-Region 2-AAAAA team in 2012 and earned Wingslinger Holiday Bash All-Tournament team honors.

Henry's accolades came in just his second year as a starting player in a career that had taken off quickly.

After playing on the freshman team in his ninth-grade year Henry didn't play during his sophomore season, serving as a manager on the junior varsity team.

Then between his sophomore and junior seasons, Henry grew five inches and worked hard, gaining the attention of Rasmussen and his staff.

"We were like, ‘Wow this guy is turning into a player,'" Rasmussen said. "Five games into his junior season we started him and he never didn't start again."

Henry said he will work hard to start again while at GPC, where he will study to be a psychological therapist.

"I like talking to people and helping them with their problems," said Henry on the decision of his major.