Newton, Jamison help Westview boys basketball down Grants Pass
As Westview's only returner starter, as a senior leader playing the most position on the floor, point guard Kobe Newton is the Wildcats' torchbearer.
And in the Westview pecking order of prowess, junior swingman Wayne Jamison isn't far behind his floor general. His extensive experience off the bench as a sophomore and success as a sixth man sprang the silky smooth wing into a starting role this season.
When it's crunch time or Westview is in need of a momentum swing, these two veterans can be the Wildcats' guiding lights.
Against Grants Pass, in their team's penultimate non-league contest, every time it seemed Westview needed a big play, be it a key bucket, a hard-nosed defensive stop or a clutch pass, Newton or Jamison were in the thick of it. As a team, the Wildcats' late-game execution left much to be desired as a 16-point second half lead was squandered.
But down the stretch, Newton and Jamison stepped up big, as Newton scored 11 fourth quarter points including two game-sealing free throws to give Westview (7-5) a 55-49 win at Westview High School on Jan. 2.
"We had to step up and make plays," Newton said. "Being the only returning starter who's been in those situations, I have to do a better job of keeping everybody poised and calm. That's one of our main focuses, figuring out how to win in these late-game situations because in Metro, you get into those almost every game it feels like. Everybody's battling almost every game, so we have to get used to this and know what to do."
Newton had a team-high 18 points to go along with six assists while Jamison added eight points and a number of key defensive stands. Leading 20-14 late in the second quarter, Jamison finished an and-one three-point play in transition and Newton raced a coast-to-coast layup in traffic to give Westview a 25-18 lead at the half. The two returners combined for Westview's first five points of the second half as well.
"The whole team is looking at us to make those plays and get the energy up," Jamison said. "We have to find our ways to score. We want to build our team up so we can beat some of the best teams in Metro."
Newton is known for his innate passing ability, his penchant for unselfishly finding teammates and piling up organic assists with crowd-pleasing passes. And for three quarters the senior point man set the table beautifully, dishing no-look dimes in transition, firing off-balance lasers to cutters, hunting the open man when penetrating toward the rim. Newton can make passing contagious and boost his teammates' confidence with the way he sees the floor — a gift he says comes naturally and through meticulous self-scouting of his opponent.
"When I'm bored at home all I do is watch film," Newton said. "Through that, I can see where defenses break down, seeing plays before they happen and make that pass when it needs to be there."
Westview led by as much 42-25 in the third quarter as Newton, Jamison, London Smalley and Juwon Esuk opened up the game with selfless basketball both in the open floor and in the half court. Esuk scored 15 points, carving out space inside the paint and running the floor hard with his guards.
"We try to get out (in transition) and push it, push it, push it," Jamison said. "We try to break down the defense and then get back on defense ourselves."
However, Grants Pass stormed back, going on a 12–0 run to close out the third and cut Westview's lead to 42-37. It was an advantage that dwindled to 45-43 in the fourth until Newton and Jamison helped put the game away for good. Newton made a three off a pass from Jamison who handed the ball off and in the process set a de facto screen to free his teammate for the open look to make it 48-43. Then Jamison drew a charge against a Caveman guard. And subsequently, Newton converted a tough, twisting and-one three-point play to go up 51-43 with 3:38 to go in the fourth.
In the chaos, Newton and Jamison were the cool, confident closers, two upperclassmen who have gone through the fires of the tightfisted Metro League and come out the other side tougher with the requiem to finish off a foe.
A few poor decisions and turnovers let the Cavemen stay close at 51-47, but Newton and Esuk each sank two free throws apiece in the closing seconds to stave off the defeat.
Westview sports one of the youngest, greenest groups in Metro with several names that are relatively new to the Beaverton scene, sans Newton and Jamison. Yet, the Wildcats play a number of high-level athletes like Smalley, Mason Guerra and Jalen Grable, three bouncy, quick-twitch multi-sport stars who can make plays on both ends of the floor. Most of the time the Wildcats will play four guards to maximize their athleticism and play the game at a high pace with Newton running the show. With Southridge suffering a season-ending injury to star guard Zach Galvin, Newton believes Metro will boil down to Jesuit and Westview — an old rivalry that dates back decades.
"We want to win a Metro League title, period," Newton said. "That's the only goal. Anything short of that isn't necessarily a failure, but it's not where we want to be. Regardless of some tough losses, we feel like when we play well and play as a team we don't think there's anybody in Metro that can run up on us. There's nobody we can't beat."