Banner Boys 2022


Haider Malik, Sports Editor

  On Feb. 11, Newsome Men’s Basketball became district champions for the first time since 2015, ending the championship drought. They beat Plant City High School 49-45 in a riveting fashion, adding a third title to Newsome’s name. The Banner Boys had a crazy bounce back from last year’s 9-15 record and their post-season success was ensured after their arduous work and dedication. 

  The post-season for Newsome Men’s Basketball began on Feb. 9, as they faced Durant in the 7A District 7 Semi-Finals.Last time these two teams competed, the game was incredibly close, with the final score being 58-57. This game was barely won by Newsome, with sophomore Carlton Young getting a game winning block against Durant’s senior Douglas Blackwood.  

    “I was a bit nervous to play Durant. I think it is really hard to beat a good team three times in a row, especially a rival opponent. I had confidence in them boys though of course, I knew we were the better team,” said Assistant Coach Jake Hodges. 

  The semi-final game was close in the first few quarters. By the second quarter, the score had remained tied at 27 points. Late in the third quarter, Durant took the lead in just a few minutes. 

   “There was about a 2-minute stretch where we had several turnovers and miscommunication on defense,” said Coach Hodges. Still, the boys executed well in the final stretch, developing a strong lead, coming out with a score of 53-44, allowing them to move onto the 7A District 7 Finals against Plant City.  

   Last time Newsome played Plant City, it was a blow-out win for Newsome. The score came out to 52-32 and Newsome was seeded first in 7A District 7 after the win. Going into the district finals, the team had a lot of confidence. 

   “We were feeling confident because we shot well last game and played some tough defense. We kept them to 30 points in the last game so we felt we could do it again,” said senior Robbie Goodwin. 

  The district championship was an interesting game, with both teams playing aggressive defense, especially Plant City with four steals. Despite their strong defense, Newsome stayed on top. They played well, clutching up with a high percentage of free-throws attempts (77 percent) and three-point attempts (71 percent). 

  Plant City still put up a fight. With a minute left in the game, they were still hitting three-pointers. Senior DJ Haynes and senior Romello Jones were all aggressive with the ball. Still, the Banner Boys did their thing and handled business, beating Plant City. 

  “My favorite thing about the game was them never giving up or breaking down like in other games previously. They hit Clutch free throws down the stretch of the 4th and took care of the ball,” said Coach Hodges.  

  After winning the District Finals, Newsome Men’s Basketball headed to the 7A Regional Quarterfinals against Dr. Phillips High School. Dr. Philips is ranked as the third best team in the state. Newsome, ranked 142 in the state, had a higher seed going into the game. Dr. Philips had a lower seed, but most of their losses were to big basketball programs out of state. Still, the Banner Boys refused to give up easily.  

  “We were going to put up a fight and give it our all,” said Junior Nate Murray. Newsome played ferocious defense, with Robbie Goodwin getting two steals late in the fourth. Newsome lost 70-41 but exceeded the expectations of many. 

  It is far from over for Newsome Men’s Basketball. The offseason will allow for necessary growth and skill development, to ensure further success. The team is still young, and it will be exciting to see what the team will accomplish next season.