BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/NEMCC Athletics) - One of the Magnolia State’s purest athletes is ready to excel and give her best effort to Northeast Mississippi Community College’s tradition-rich women’s basketball team.
Harper Newell has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to become a member of the Lady Tigers’ ten-time Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championship program.
“We’re excited to have Harper join us,” said Northeast head coach Brian Alexander. “Harper was one of the most physical perimeter players in Mississippi this year. She plays hard and you just kinda like the way she gets after it out there.
“She can handle the ball, play four different positions and is under control. She’s a good person as well and comes from a tremendous home.”
Newell honed and developed her skill set at Clinton High School under the tutelage of legendary Northeast star Kunshinge Sorrell Howard. Howard, who was a 2011 inductee into the MACJC Hall of Fame, led the Lady Tigers to the 1986 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) title game and was a first-team All-American.
The 5'6" guard hopes to follow in the footsteps of her mentor Howard by guiding Northeast back to the NJCAA National Tournament in Salina, Kan., for the first time in ten years.
“I feel blessed and excited to start a new chapter here at Northeast,” Newell said. “My goal is to win a national championship and become a better player. I see myself giving my all to my team.”
Newell averaged double figures in three of her four campaigns on Clinton’s varsity squad. She made her inaugural appearance with the Lady Arrows during the 2010-11 season and scored 15 points in a victory against Canton High School on November 6.
She also recorded a career-high 23 points as a freshman in a 57-47 decision over local rival Madison Central High School at the Northwest Rankin Holiday Tournament.
Clinton rebounded from a tough year during Newell’s sophomore campaign to sweep the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Division 3, Class 6A regular season and tournament crowns in 2013.
Newell averaged 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a junior and helped the Lady Arrows defeat Tupelo High School in the opening round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs.
One year later, Newell was named to The Clarion-Ledger’s prestigious All-Metro team. She directed Clinton to an outstanding 24-4 overall record as a senior with 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.3 steals each outing.
The Lady Arrows moved into MHSAA Division 4-6A during the 2013-14 campaign and did not skip a beat. They compiled a 7-1 mark versus league foes and edged Murrah High School 51-49 to clinch the region tournament title.
Newell just missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds in Clinton’s postseason opener against Starkville High School. The Lady Arrows won 76-52 to advance and host the MHSAA Class 6A North Half Tournament.
During her phenomenal prep career, Newell tallied amazing numbers including 10.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.7 assists per contest. She held a solid record of 8-4 during playoff matchups.
Clinton also claimed the 2014 MHSAA Class 6A girls track and field championship with Newell as its best sprinter. She grabbed an individual title in the 100-meter hurdles in a personal top time of 14.58 seconds and was the runner-up to teammate Monica Mosley in the 300-meter hurdles.
Newell was part of the Lady Arrows’ relay team that set new state records in a pair of competitions as well. They notched a new mark in the 400-meter race at 46.14 seconds and shattered Meridian High School’s longstanding performance from 1980 of 1:40.64 in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:37.58.
For her efforts during the MHSAA Class 6A State Track and Field Meet at Pearl High School, Newell was selected as The Clarion-Ledger’s Metro Area Athlete of the Week on May 12.