The Covington News - - Sports -

down to who can shoot the ball. They’re record isn’t that great, but they have played some tough teams like Wheeler.”

Should the Rams make it past the Raiders, they will take on the win­ner of the Hous­ton County/ North Gwin­nett game.

Con­ven­tional wis­dom says Hous­ton County should ad­vance, but Ras­mussen was quick to point out that is any­thing but a for­gone con­clu­sion.

“The home team in a tour­na­ment is al­ways danger­ous,” he said. “They get to start­ing to feel good and who knows, any­thing can hap­pen.”

New­ton split a pair with Hous­ton County over the sum­mer, and even though the Bears, who will trek from Warner Rob­bins to take part in the tree-day tour­na­ment, lost their last game, Ras­mussen knows how good they are.

“Hous­ton County is a very good bas­ket­ball team,” he said. “They are a very good team. They are a good shoot­ing team and have some good size. We beat them once over the sum­mer and lost to them by two the sec­ond time around. We will have to be ready to play well should we face them.”

Parkview and Spar­tan­burg, S.C. are on the other side of the bracket. Rich­mond Academy may be the fa­vorite on that side, but the Rams will be pre­pared to play whomever they face.

Ras­mussen re­cently took his team to the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia’s bas­ket­ball game ver­sus Texas A&M Cor­pus Christi in which the Bull­dogs squeaked out an over­time victory. Each year he tries to take the team on such a trip to give them some per­spec­tive of bas­ket­ball at the next level, but also, to bond as team­mates.

So far, the Rams have gelled well. And while they are un­de­feated and play­ing well as a group, Ras­mussen knows things can change in an in­stant.

Two years ago, New­ton started 11-0. The Rams lost their next game to M.L. King, which AAAAA.

But the Rams kept go­ing and was the same year New­ton went into the Class-AAAAA play­offs ranked in the top-10. They then beat Redan to make the state play­offs.

This year, Ras­mussen hopes for the same type of suc­cess. Thanks to vet­er­ans Tee Far­ley, Chuck Ed­wards and Ja­mon Hawkins, along with new­comer Der­rick Henry, who is av­er­ag­ing a shade over 20 points per game, the Rams are a co­he­sive group that works to­gether to win games. And that’s the bot­tom line at New­ton. op­tion.”

It doesn’t hurt that New­ton has won some close games like its last-sec­ond victory over M.L. King ear­lier in the month.

“If kids be­lieve in winning, when the game on the line, if they can pull out a close win,” Ras­mussen said. “It’s hard to in the past, I think winning breeds winning. It goes back to trips like the one to watch the Ge­or­gia game and the sum­mer league suc­cess are keys to why his teams con­sis­tently seem to per­form above what out­siders may view as small teams with a bunch of guards.

Nev­er­the­less, the work the Rams do dur­ing prac­tice along with Ras­mussen’s old school, no-bull ap­proach has proved the sum of all parts is far stronger than the strength of one.

The Rams put it on the line once again and look to ride the it will go be­fore head­ing back home for more re­gion play next Satur­day.

“I look for­ward to how we play in that open­ing game,” Ras­mussen said. “We will have to see how it goes af­ter that. Our goal is to win the tour­na­ment.”

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