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One night, two milestones

Newson, just a sophomore, scores 69 points to lead North to district win, tops 1,000 points for his career

By CJ HADDAD - | Feb 8, 2024

North Fort Myers basketball standout Isaiah Newson, left, and his father and head coach Rondell Newson. PHOTO PROVIDED

Isaiah Newson needed just six points to reach the 1,000 point mark in his high school career heading into Tuesday night’s district playoff against Ida Baker.

The Red Knights’ sophomore scored his six points early in the first quarter, and went on to make even more history.

Newson dropped a whopping 69 points, a North Fort Myers single-game record, on the way to a 111-81 win at home.

The point guard made a total of 27 field goals, including seven 3-pointers, as he led the Red Knights into the next round of the FHSAA District 6A-11 championships.

“First off, I just want to thank my God, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Newson said. “He has given me everything — just the opportunity to play basketball at the varsity level. He just gave me all the tools. I want to thank my teammates, my mom and dad — especially my dad. He’s been pushing me to be the greatest player I can be off the court, on the court, in school, just all-around. I’m just grateful for everything. This is an amazing time right now.”

Newson and his squad got off to a hot start out of the gate, holding a 32-12 advantage at the end of the first, with the sophomore contributing 24 of those points.

Newson added 10 more in the second quarter, and turned it on even more in the second half.

He admitted he came into the game “not really feeling it,” but once the game got going, he settled in. Newson scored 41 versus Fort Myers the week before, a precursor to his record-setting night.

“I hit my first couple shots and I knew it was game time,” Newson said. “I was just ready.”

North head coach Rondell Newson shares a special bond with his leading scorer. He’s Isaiah’s father. He said it’s been a pleasure to watch Isaiah grow and get better each and every game.

“It’s amazing to see it,” Rondell said. “It’s special. A lot of time us parents don’t get a chance to coach their kids, so we have to take advantage of those opportunities. And what it does is build a bigger bond with you and if that’s your son or daughter.”

Of being on the court and looking over to the sideline to see his father coaching, Isaiah said, “It’s a special feeling. Not many people can get that. Just having the opportunity of having my dad on the bench, him celebrating for me, coaching me, talking me through things, letting me be on the same page as him, just is amazing. I’m just truly grateful.

“Me and my dad have a really good connection. We go home, we talk about basketball. I think our bond is really strong on the court, off the court, at home — we’re really chill as a family. I really love him, and our bond is really good.”

Rondell said what sets Isaiah apart is the drive he has to get better every day.

“It’s his commitment to want to be the best,” Rondell said. “I push him as far as I can push him. And he has a drive a lot of kids don’t have these days. And if they do have it, you see where they end up at in most cases. It’s just fun to watch the growth pattern.”

Newson certainly dazzled on the court Tuesday night. The 6-foot guard had it all going on — driving into the paint and contorting his body to finish, or hitting jump shots from deep after shaking his defender.

“I think my game is very effective when I’m coming downhill, because I can make that pass, and I’m a pretty good finisher, I think,” Newson said of his game. “I think I need to work on communicating, and trying to take that leader role. I feel like I’m pretty quiet, but I feel there’s a leader role that I can really get into.”

Naturally, Newson has goals of playing at the next level and beyond. And he’s certainly on the right track. This season, he’s averaged 25 points per game, and is sitting at 550 total points scored on the year.

“I’m just trying to be the best I can be at every given moment,” Newson said. “Every day just working hard towards my goals of making it to ‘the league.’ Just working hard every single day. Every moment I get on this court, every moment I’m in the classroom — just working my tail off.”

When asked what it means to have reached the 1,000 point plateau and set a single-game scoring record in the same night, Newson said, “I just can’t describe it. There’s too many emotions going on. I’m happy. I almost cried breaking 1,000 points. And then hitting 60 points. My grandma was here. It’s just an amazing moment.”

Next up, North (8-14) will travel to Charlotte tonight to take on the top-seeded Tarpons (13-10) for a chance to play for the district championship.