After bringing home the hardware from the Okaloosa County Basketball Championships, the Destin Middle School Marlin coaching staff recognized their own Monday evening at an awards banquet in the school cafeteria.
The Destin girls basketball team captured the school’s first-ever basketball championship while the boys team finished as runners-up.
The girls were recognized first with the Coach Jamie Fayard speaking highly of her junior varsity squad. Fayard said they were “well rounded” and brought a lot of “energy and toughness” to the game.
“They got better every time they stepped on the floor,” she said.
Up next, Susie Pierce, coach of the varsity team, started with her young players and then worked her way up givinig out accolades to all.
Ellaine Wolford and Annabelle Shackelford each received “most improved” awards, while Riley Palmer was recognized for her last second shot against Ruckel that put the Marlins over the top. Justine Zamora was recognized as well.
Carson Fayard, a sixth grader, won the “best all around” award as well as the pink helmet award for being the “hardest worker” on the team. The sixth grader averaged 10.5 points per game.
Pierce then gave a special “book award” to each of her eighth graders. Pierce picked out books that reminded her of the players.
Avery Spraggins received the book “Ten Apples Up on Top” for her smile and good attitude at work.
MJ Toth got the “Oh Say Can You Say?” as well as the “Future Coach Award.” Pierce talked of how Toth during the season had actually drawn up a couple of plays for the team.
Cami Davies received “I Can Read with my Eyes Shut.” Pierce said Davies was a confident player and a good shooter. Her best game was against Pryor when she scored six points.
“Wacky Wednesday” went to Kiersten Martin.
“A Fly Went By” went to Ava Smith. “Ava brought fear to the other team,” Pierce said. Smith was also the recipient of the “defense award.”
Anna Kimball recieved “Oh the Things You Can Think.” Pierce said the sky is the limit for Kimball. “She’s a gem of a basketball player.” Kimball averaged 20 points a game with her highest being 34 points.
Jessica Pierce received “Are You My Mother?” Jessica also received the “ice water in your veins” award and was recognized for shooting 75 percent from the foul line.
Lady Marlins named to the All Conference team were Ava Smith, Jessica Pierce, Carson Fayard and Anna Kimball.
The boys teams came next, with Coach Ron Griffiths starting off with the junior varsity boys. He spoke highly of their efforts and said they were “always there an on time.”
Varsity Coach Bob Davies took the floor next.
“We had a tough ending to the season,” Davies said, noting they came up just a few points short of winning the county title. “The fact that you never quit says more about you than if you’d had won.”
Davies recognized his underclassmen first: Kevin Robertson, Greyson Sommerville and Gabe Escalera.
He then thanked his captains, Maddax Fayard, Asa Newelll and Isaac Hancey, for their leadership.
Recipients of the “competitiveness” awards were Andrew Atkins and Garret Jacobs. He described them as “fierce” and “fearless.”
Winner of the “toughness” award was Hunter Barber.
The “unselfish” award went to Gavin Garrity.
The most “coachable” award went to the Jaden Higgs.
The “hustle” award went to a couple of guys who could “get in there and take a charge,” Davies said. Winners were Brandon and Christian Harnish.
The “most improved” award went to Price Bowen. Coach said he didn’t really know Bowen at the first of the year, but soon found out that he was hungry to learn and brought a lot of energy to the floor.
The “most valuable player” went to a trio of guys, Asa Newell, Maddax Fayard and Isaac Hancey.
Coach gave out a “T.R. Dunn” award, which was given for mental toughness and concentration, to Eric Scott. “This guy never had a bad game or a bad practice,” Davies said.
The “coach” award went to Hancey. Davies said he has a “great basketball mind.”
The “heart and soul” award went to Garrett Jacobs. “He was one of our better shooters, sneaky good rebounder, defender, hustler and leader,” Davies said.
The “moxie” award went to Maddax Fayard and the “leadership”award to Asa Newell.
Fayard, Newell and Hancey were also all named to the All Conference Team.