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.”