Rams show signs of improvement in first camp of the summer

COVINGTON — The Newton boys basketball team may have gotten off to a slow start, but they quickly improved as they became more comfortable and trusted each other in their camp at Furman.

The Rams played better the second day winning all three of their game while losing to Hillcrest, who is the No. 3 ranked team in South Carolina, and Milton on the first day to go 4-2 in the camp tournament.

“We are moving in the right direction but we do have a lot of growing to do,” Newton head coach Rick Rasmussen said. “We are young and inexperienced in some positions but we have a lot of potential moving forward.”

The Rams played well despite falling by five points against Hillcrest losing 63-58 coming up short in their second loss of the opening day.

“With only one returning starter in (rising) sophomore guard Darvin Jones,” Rasmussen said. “I thought we made some solid progress at this camp.”

While playing in their first overnight camp was the main reason for the trip, an added bonus was to give the players and coaches a chance to see former Newton and current Furman player Stephen Croone.

Croone was named to the All-District 22 second team as a sophomore averaging 19.1 points per game while making 192 of 256 (75 percent) free-throw attempts. Out of his 30 starts, he hit double-digit scoring in 29 of them including hitting 40 points and 11 rebound against Liberty. It was the first 40-point game for a Furman player since Roy Simpson achieved the mark in 1972. He also averaged 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 4.4 rebounds per game.

“It was also very fun for our players to see our own Stephen Croone and get to hear about how great he has been for Furman,” Rasmussen said. “We are looking forward to local scrimmages this week at Monroe Area and Apalachee before visiting camps at Clayton State and UGA this weekend.”