Two Patriots Earn All-Conference Honors
Pinecrest senior Traivon Williams earned all-conference first team honors and junior Adam Cummings made the second team by vote of the basketball coaches of the Southeastern Conference.
These and other awards were presented to the players at a team banquet recently. The Patriots finished the season with a record of 7-18 overall and 2-9 in the SEC in their first season under coach Andrew Lacey.
Senior Jordan Fields was recognized as the most improved player. Frankie Painter received the coaches award and Williams was selected team MVP.
An upbeat Lacey, who took over a program that had won consecutive SEC titles under Mike Apple, talked about his all-league players, the past season and the future.
Williams averaged 9.8 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game. In addition to rebounds, the 6-foot-2 forward led the Patriots in blocked shots and deflections, and was a close second in steals.
“As a coach you gauge a player by the affect it has when he’s out of the lineup,” Lacey said. “If you took Traivon out, it was always how would we get rebounds? He was tremendous on getting rebounds, on changing shots and every coach saw that.”
Cummings led the team in scoring with an average of 12.3 points per game. He was 58-for-140 on three-point attempts (41 percent) and 74-for-89 from the free throw line (83 percent).
“Adam expanded his game to putting the ball on the floor and getting to the free throw line,” Lacey said. “All-conference is a direct reward for him adding something to his game.”
Junior Tarique Thompson of Hoke County was voted SEC Player of the Year and Hokes’ Kwame Patterson was selected coach of the year. The Bucks finished 25-3, losing to New Hanover in the regional championship game.
The Patriot players missed out on summer play when Lacey was not hired until late in the summer. He inherited a team with no returning starters and just a handful of players with varsity experience. Williams and Fields are the only seniors that will move on from this year’s squad.
“It was a learning experience for everybody, with a lot of challenges,” the Virginian said. “We were 7-18 and that isn’t acceptable by any standard, but we’ll have eight kids coming back next year.
“What is very exciting for me is that we have an offseason so we’ll at least be on an even playing field with respect to the other teams in our league. I think now we have gotten over that hill.”
Offseason plans include attending team camps at Gardner-Webb and East Carolina on consecutive weeks in June. The Patriots will also host a Thursday evening summer league with about eight teams participating.
Next season‘s schedule includes a four-team tournament in Berwick, Pa., in early December as well as the annual Holiday in the Pines event at Pinecrest.
Following Cummings and Williams as scoring leaders were junior Justin Ray (7.8 points), sophomore Brendan Ortiz (6.0) and junior Frankie Painter (3.6). Fields at 65 percent (11-for-17) and Painter at 43 percent (34-for-79) were the leaders in field goal shooting. Ray was the assists leader (2.5).
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