Vikings Celebrate Hoops Season with Banquet
Last week at an end-of-the-year banquet, players, coaches, managers, scorekeepers, family and friends of the 2007-08 Union Pines boys' basketball team gathered to share companionship and commemorate an exceptionally successful year.
The Vikings finished the season with an 18-10 record. After dropping two straight games in the middle of league play, Union Pines was on a precarious perch at 5-4 in league play. The Vikes responded by closing the season with a five-game conference-winning streak finishing at 10-4 in the Cape Fear Valley Conference season to finish in second place.
The Vikes then won games in the first two rounds of conference tournament to extend the streak to seven and earn a place in the championship game. Though it would fall to Southern Lee, Union Pines brought home some hardware in the form of a runner-up trophy. Union Pines' season ended at home when Morehead High pulled off an upset in the first round of the state 3-A playoffs.
After conversations were had and food was consumed, it came time for the team's postseason honors and awards to be announced.
First, recipients of the Cape Fear Valley All-Academic Team received certificates. The criterion for the honor is that a student-athlete have at least a 3.0 grade point average. Union Pines had six players qualify for the honor, three more than any other team in the league. The Vikes All-Academics were Travis Monroe (senior captain); Nick Jocic (senior); Stuart Thompson (junior); Aaron Patel (junior); Phillip Thompson (junior); and Will Maness (junior.) Jocic was also honored as Union Pines' recipient of the conference Sportsmanship Award.
Next came the announcement of all-conference selections. The Cape Fear Valley honors 12 players each year as all-conference honorees. Two of those were Vikes Jon Toomer (sophomore) and Monroe. J. Toomer finished a close third in the voting for the Cape Fear Valley Conference Player of the Year.
J. Toomer and Monroe were also named to the all-district team, which is drawn from a pool of five counties. J. Toomer was a first-team selection and Monroe made the second team.
The Viking coaches then announced the team's individual awards/plaques. J. Toomer was the Most Improved Player. Toomer was the team's leading scorer with an average of 14.5 points per game. He scored in double figures in 24 of 28 games and led the team in scoring 11 times. J. Toomer's season high was 31 points. He scored 20 or more in four games and averaged 17.7 points in the conference tournament to make the all-tourney team.
Senior captain Darrell Toomer won the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award. He led the team in steals, averaged nearly five assists a game and scored 8.4 points per game. D. Toomer's season high in points was 20 and six in steals.
Vike senior-sharpshooter and high-riser Derrick Ross was the team's Most Valuable Offensive Player. Ross was the Vikes' go-to-man in the clutch and delivered repeatedly when it mattered most from three-point land and the charity stripe. On the year he averaged 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals. Ross scored in double figures in 21 of 26 games and led the team in scoring 10 times. His season-high was 26 points, tallying 21 in the second half, in the opening round of the conference tournament, where he averaged 19.7 points in three games to make the all-tourney team. Over his last six games, he averaged 17.8 points and in the Vikes' final game, he had 15 of his team's total 30 points.
Monroe received the team award for the Most Valuable Player. All season long, he was the motor that kept the Union Pines team firing on all cylinders. On the year, he had 12 double-doubles. He averaged 8.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest and caused havoc on defense for opposing bigs in the post. His season-highs were 17 (twice) in points and 16 in rebounds. He led the team in rebounding in more than 20 games.
In one doozy of a nightcap, it was revealed that Vike head coach Bobby Purvis had received the Cape Fear Valley trophy for Coach of the Year. Purvis, who was the unanimous selection for the honor, gave all the credit to his players and assistant coaches.
More like this story