Newton is a 5-foot-2 backcourter with a special set of skills.
Let's let longtime Valley Christian Coach Steve Cotton describe his protege: "A.J. is a very capable shooter with very good ball-handling skills. She can break down defenses, get into the paint and cause defensive rotations. A.J. possesses great instincts and applies a lot of ball pressure defensively. She plays aggressively on both sides of the ball. Let me tell you, with her work ethic she is going to have her way."
Newton was the leading scorer in the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) as a freshman and a Mercury News All-County first team selection two years running. In fact, here her 'biography' courtesy of the Mercury News: "...Newton was the motor behind another successful season for the Warriors, who advanced to the CCS Division III semifinals. She averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 assists, three steals and three rebounds per game. She helped the Warriors win two of three games against Mitty. Newton is an impact player on both sides of the floor, utilizing her quickness to make steals on defense and to break down opposing defenses off the dribble. The All-WCAL selection is also an effective free throw shooter, converting 76.5 percent from the line."
Why did Newton choose to remain local and go with the Spartans? "I really liked Pam [DeCosta] and I really couldn't see myself playing for another city." When was the last time local pride was a factor in Spartan recruiting?
She is also really close to her sibling. "I couldn't leave my brother so now he and my family have a chance to see me play," Newton said.
Valley Christian went 22-7 overall last season, 8-4 in league play and won two of the three games played against powerful rival Archbishop Mitty last season. The Warrior program has become a power based on Newton's contributions and certainly those of her teammates.
Newton plays club team basketball for Mark Anger and his East Bay XPlosion squad. Anger offered this on his guard: "A.J. makes players around her better. She is going to surprise people and really be a factor."
Here's Cotton again: "A.J. has an innate quality for exceeding her size and stature which makes her attractive to college coaches."
Such a talent will surely be welcomed with open arms at SJSU but first comes her senior season and Newton's goal of "playing in the D-4 state title game."Follow Inside Sparta on Twitter and Facebook
Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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