2007-08 Rams prepare for season on the hardwood
The Newton High School boys basketball program has established a winning tradition throughout the years.
Even though this year’s squad only returns one starter — senior Sean Monk — head coach Rick Rasmussen is optimistic heading into the season.
“We are really eager to get started,” said Rasmussen. “We had a great off-season and the kids have really worked hard together.”
His squad posted a perfect 10-0 record during summer camp at Georgia College, winning the camp championship for the second year in a row.
“Outside of our region we need to do well because you’ve got to build some momentum,” said Rasmussen. “There’s no game on our schedule that’s guaranteed. We’ve just got to take it one game at a time and do the best we can.”
Last Thursday, the Rams traveled to Monroe Area for their opening exhibition game, where they throttled the Purple Hurricanes by a final score of 65-34. It was a balanced team effort as four Rams hit double figures and everyone on the bench was able to gain some valuable playing time. In fact, the first half score was an amazing 34-5.
“Our defense was amazing and we shot the ball really well,” recalled Rasmussen. “It’s not often that you can hold a team to single digits for a full 16 minutes of play.”
Besides Monk, other returnees for the Rams include the high-flying Montrell “Hops” Grimes, sharpshooter Jamon
ebrating Johnson’s success, even though it spoiled what should have been a career year for the four-time series champion.
In addition to passing Dale Earnhardt on NASCAR’s career victories list this season, Gordon found off-track happiness with the June birth of his daughter. It gave him a balance he had been missing during the heyday of his career.
“When you go through becoming a first-time father, there is nothing that’s going to top that. It is the ultimate,” Gordon said. “I’ve won championships before ... (and) I know that even that can’t top becoming a dad and that whole experience.”
While Junior, Jeff and Jimmie certainly dominated the headlines, they hardly stole the show:
• The season opened with a cheating scandal at the Daytona 500 — five teams were caught with unapproved modifications on their cars — including Michael Waltrip, who had an illegal substance in his engine. It set the tone for a strict NASCAR crackdown on cheating, and the sanctioning body showed little mercy when it came to its Car of Tomorrow.
NASCAR phased in its CoT this season, and it’s unclear if the car will indeed reduce costs, foster better racing and improve safety. The only thing that’s certain is that NASCAR won’t tolerate modifications to it, as many crew chiefs learned this season through lengthy suspensions and stiff fines.
• Waltrip never recovered from the Daytona scandal, and it started a long and troubling year for Toyota in its first season in NASCAR’s top series. The two-time Daytona 500 winner struggled to make races — he qualified for just 14 of 36 — and the other Camry pilots struggled, too.
Of the seven full-time teams, Dave Blaney’s 31st-place finish was the highest. But the Japanese automaker should crack the winner’s circle next season with the addition of Joe Gibbs Racing and drivers Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
• Busch, despite tremendous talent and a long future ahead of him, found himself out of a job at Hendrick Motorsports when Junior became available. Almost every team in the garage wanted the temperamental 22-year-old, and he picked Gibbs, where the driver stable can be a bit emotionally unstable.
In the zone:
Newton boys basketball head coach Rick Rasmussen is primed and ready for the 2007-08 season.