Boys Basketball Roundup-News of Barnum and other area teamsBrandon Newman of Barnum used to get up well before the sun to take care of his family’s farm. But not even he knew his chores were preparing him for basketball.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Brandon Newman of Barnum used to get up well before the sun to take care of his family’s farm. But not even he knew his chores were preparing him for basketball.
“We have dairy cows and beef cows,” said Newman of the farm just five minutes from town. “We milk them, feed them, carry hay, lift five-gallon pals, everything. It keeps me in shape.”
Newman has helped shape the Bombers basketball team this season. A 5-foot-10, 170-pound guard sports a smooth shot and carries plenty of court sense in his third year on the varsity team, coached by his father, Rich.
Brandon, 15, is the youngest of four siblings in the Newman household, including oldest sister Katrina as well as twin sister and brother, Jessica and Justin. After leading the Bombers to the state basketball tournament multiple times, Katrina and Jessica currently play basketball at the University of Minnesota Duluth, while Justin attends Hibbing Community College. All were three-sport athletes at Barnum, with the sisters playing volleyball, basketball and softball, and the brothers in football, basketball and baseball.
Add that to chores, which Brandon does more often at night now.
“It’s busy, but we find time – friends, family and neighbors have helped out,” said Rich, who also graduated from Barnum with his wife, Corina. “Someone is always willing to help.”
Learning the game of basketball from his older siblings, Brandon said pickup games of one-on-one or two-on-two were customary, with the basketball hoop sitting on top of the barn.
“We’d play while waiting for chores,” Brandon said.
“Or until they got yelled at,” added Corina, with a laugh.
And although his siblings have graduated and moved on, Brandon continues to work on his game at the nearest chance. This summer, he spent plenty of time lifting weights, shooting in the gym and at home when he had any free time.
“Like everyone else, he loves to play,” Corina said. “Any time he has a break, he’s shooting that ball at that basket. He’s always trying to improve himself, even if it is just a couple of shots.”
Brandon shot well Monday against visiting Two Harbors, scoring a game-high 30 points for Barnum (16-2) in their fourth straight win.
“He can shoot it a couple feet behind the line – and if you get in his face, he’ll drive right by you,” said senior teammate and good friend Daniel Warpula, who added 13 points Monday night. “And he knows a lot. He’s just a natural born basketball player.”
Basketball has always been a part of the Newman family life.
“I’ve had my kids in those locker rooms when they were 3, 4 and 5 years old,” Rich said. “They saw success and got hungry for it.”
“All of us have played, my dad is the coach and we’ve always had that hoop on top of the barn,” Brandon said. “It means everything. But at 5 o’clock we always knew it was chore time.”
Carlton (7-8) continues to be hot, mauling Polar League host McGregor 72-21 Tuesday in their fourth consecutive win.
Cloquet (8-7) closed a narrow halftime deficit and defeated visiting Duluth Denfeld 71-50 in a Lake Superior Conference victory Tuesday. The Lumberjacks have now won three straight.
Cromwell-Wright (5-8) remains on the slide, falling to South Ridge 81-61 Monday at home for a third defeat in a row.
Esko (14-3) eased by Polar League host Two Harbors 80-36 last Friday for their fourth straight win, still atop the conference.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (8-6) obliterated Northland-Remer 96-68 Tuesday night in Cloquet for back-to-back victories as of late.
Moose Lake-Willow River (11-5) relinquished their former five-game win streak, losing 59-53 to Braham Tuesday at home.
South Ridge (9-6) routed Duluth Marshall 81-49 Tuesday in Culver, adding to their clubbing of Cromwell-Wright on Monday.
Wrenshall (5-8) was toppled by visiting Floodwood 56-47 Tuesday in the Wrens’ second defeat to their Polar League foes.
FDLTCC (4-15) cracked their previous 14-game losing streak with a 71-67 victory over Northland Saturday in Cloquet.