By Tamas Mondovics

Newsome Boys Basketball Wins “Silent Night” Charity Game

Newsome High School boys basketball team successfully hosted its second annual “Silent Night Basketball” game at Newsome High School gymnasium, located at 16550 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia.

The game, which hosted the Strawberry Crest Chargers, combining basketball and a food drive, produced a two-fold success for all coaches, players, parents and fans.

For starters, as an annual charity event, fans were asked to “Can the Cheer”—at least for the first few minutes of the game.

As it was the case last year, the Newsome boys’ varsity team played in silence, with no cheering from the home crowd until they scored their 10th point.

“This dramatic strategy is intended to encourage school spirit while creating awareness for the

‘Can the Cheer’ food drive,” said Sue Povelones prior to the game, adding that she hopes to see the event turning into a Newsome tradition.

Before the game began a collection station was set up in the gym for canned goods and non perishable food donations to benefit the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Valrico.

Inspired by the popular event at Taylor University in Indiana, the team wanted to bring awareness to a community need.

“The combination of philanthropy and fun seem to be a perfect fit,” Povelones said.

As Newsome scored the 10th point, fans came to life with an enthusiastic cheer and the battle continued in normal fashion until the end resulting in a 65-38 Newsome victory.

While the Wolves (overall 10-1 and district 6-1) walked away with another win, it is safe to say that the real victory was feeling of accomplishment off the court.

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Newsome Girls Soccer Lead District Ahead of Playoffs

With important wins against Wharton and Jenkins behind them, the Newsome high’s girls soccer team has bagged another strong season entering the District Class 5A District 6 playoffs as the top seed program.SportsGirls

The Wolves have again dominated the district conference that also includes Strawberry Crest, Bloomingdale, Durant and Riverview.

While the scoreboard gives testimony to a great Newsome defense boasting of just one goal against, which came in a form of a penalty kick, program Head Coach Kelly Townsend and Assistant Coach John Evensen did not hesitate to emphasize the team of something greatly lacking.

“We are missing chances to score,” Townsend said during practice just prior to a face off against Wharton. “I am tired of excuses. We got what it takes to make it to the final four. They just have to get it done.”

Evensen agreed during the emotionally charged practice as he acknowledged the girl’s skills and talents but also emphasized what was needed.

“Scoring has to be done right from the start and not at the end of the game,” he said. “They have already proved to us that they can do it. It’s all there. When they all come together there isn’t anything anyone can do or say. But we have to stop missing huge opportunities.”

Interestingly, Evensen’s strong words were also a complement as it pointed to the Wolves outstanding physical strength.

“There is nobody in better shape than us, but we have to start putting the ball at the back of the net from the get go.”

With drills focusing on just that, Townsend and Evensen repeatedly reminded the team of what is at stake, and what it will take to make the season a success.

“You guys have an incredible record, but it does not mean you can just show up and you will win,” she said. “You must have a sense of urgency. From here on out, it is time to fight right from the start.”

For what it’s worth, the practice and some much-needed readjustment seemed to have worked as the Wolves offense managed to find the back of the net six times against Wharton, walking away with 6-0 victory while earning the top seed spot for the regular season.

Time will tell if Newsome is capable to keep the momentum going, a point that Evensen made clear when he said, “You cannot go backwards. You have to step it up.”

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