It was a night for accolades all around for the Destin Middle School basketball program.
Members of both girls and boys junior varsity and varsity basketball teams were recognized Monday at a banquet by their coaches in the cafeteria of the middle school.
After family members as well as players had a chance to eat some barbecue with all the fixings, coaches bragged on their players and handed out various awards.
Coach Jamie Fayard spoke highly of her junior varsity girls team, who finished 7-1.
“They grew individually and as a team,” she said.
She recognized each player and gave them a letter as well as a certificate, plus a bag full of goodies.
Daniel Griffin, who coached the junior varsity boys, also spoke well of his team.
“We had a great season … it was a class act group of kids,” Griffin said.
His players also received certificates and letters.
Up next, Destin girls varsity coach Susie Pierce took the floor and bragged on her team that finished 13-4 and as runner-ups in the in the Okaloosa County Middle School Class 1A girls basketball tournament. Destin lost 48-38 to the undefeated Pryor Pirates in the championship game.
“This is the most unselfish team … they pick each other up all the time,” Pierce said.
She told stories of how they actually would pick each other up on the court if one of them fell. And how they would cheer each other on from the bench or pass the ball off instead of making the shot.
Pierce recognized the underclassman first and handed out awards.
Seventh grader MJ Toth was awarded a construction helmet for “working so hard and intently” all season.
Fifth grader Carson Fayard was awarded the “hustle award.”
Jessica Pierce, a seventh grader, was named defensive player of the year, while Anna Kimball, also a seventh grader, was selected as the best offensive player.
Seventh grader Ava Smith was named most improved.
For the eighth graders on the team, Pierce gave the girls awards based on how their play reminded her of certain movies.
Kendall Hewitt reminded her of “The Incredibles”; Alexus Coleman, “Finding Nemo”; Mikayla Williams, “Cars”; Carrington Phillips, “Toy Story”; Gysel Nohrenberg, “Rango”; and Reagan Palmer, “Brave.”
Nohrenberg was also awarded the “future coach award” and Palmer the “inspiration award.”
The varsity boys were the last to be recognized.
Coach Bob Davies said his team “toughened up” as the season progressed.
The Destin Marlins finished up 12-4 with a loss to Lewis Middle School in the semifinals.
Davies said he came in to the season with four goals.
First, to make boys “better young men.” Secondly, “make them individually and better basketball players.” Third on his list was to win. And lastly, to have fun.
He then handed out awards to his players.
Maddax Fayard was the recipient of the shield award; Daniil Baturyn, competitive award; Cole Hutchinson, most improved; Pavel Baturyn, unselfishness award; Zander Davis, sharp shooter award; Tabious Thompson, best offensive player award; Jake Hill, coaches award; Allen Collins, leadership award; and Carsten Phillips, defensive award.
Davies also handed out three other special awards.
Daniil Bayturn got the hustle award, Collins the heart and soul award and Thompson was name most valuable player.