Banquet reflects more than just basketball
Two coaches reminisce about season
At the boys basketball team's end-of-season banquet on March 13, Coach Mike Webb began the awards presentations by talking about everything but basketball.
Because he said basketball was only one of the things he wanted his players to get from being part of the team, much of the focus of his opening monologue was off the court.
He began the evening by congratulating the 12 players on the team who had been named to Tonganoxie's All-academic team.
To make the cut for that team, a player must have a 3.25 cumulative grade point average at the end of the season.
Webb said that to have 12 players do that, more than any other statistic, was a measuring stick for what he and the other coaches were trying to accomplish.
He also spoke of the team's community service projects like working in a soup kitchen and holding a free basketball clinic for Tonganoxie-area youth.
He read a letter to the editor from the Tonganoxie Mirror from the grandfather of a boy who had been affected by the team's community service efforts. The boy had been a patient at Lawrence Memorial Hospital when 20 of the players dropped in to visit with the children and bring them gifts.
The man thanked the team for caring.
Webb also thanked the team for caring and, with the help of assistant coach David Walker, he presented the Fifth-Quarter Folly awards.
Shane Howard won the Most Injured Player award, and he received a box of Band-Aids. Scott Breuer was mentioned as a close second.
A small frog was given to Joe Calovich for winning the Best Leaper award. Jordan Glenn won the Best Smile award, and was given a tube of toothpaste.
Jacob Walker was given the current edition of NBA Inside Stuff to read while he waits patiently on the bench. He won the Best Substitute Player award.
Matt Alexander received a bar of soap with his dirtiest Player award. "This award goes to the toughest player the hardest worker all year long," Webb said.
Greg Burnett was named Most Energetic, and received a bottle of vitamins. "When he comes in, he's instant energy for us," Webb said.
Thomas Gilner won the Most Fouls award, and received a box of diced chicken. He had 58 on the year.
Mark Gepner won a Nestle's Crunch bar with his Best Clutch Player award, and Matt Needham won some Brut roll-on antiperspirant with his Toughest Player award.
Kyle Rodell got a bib that said, "I love mommy," with his Best Dribbler award. Bryan Gurss was given a set of baby blocks for his Most Blocks award.
Scott Breuer got an Easter basket with his Most Baskets award. He had 142 field goals this season.
The final Fifth-Quarter Folly was the GQ award, given to the best-dressed player at each basketball game. The player that won the award the most times through the season was Matt Needham.
Walker thanked all who contributed to the team's successful season: managers, the Booster club, parents, the junior varsity and especially the coaches' families.
"I don't know how anyone could stand to be a coach's wife," he quipped.
The junior varsity had nine players lead the team in scoring for individual games. The highest points-per-game average was only 7.2 by Joe Calovich.
After handing out participation certificates to the 11 junior varsity players, Walker handed the mic back to Webb, who praised Walker and his team for its tremendous effort.
Webb named off the varsity team's l3 letters winners, saving the four seniors for last. For seniors Scott Breuer, Mark Gepner, Matt Needham and Kyle Rodell, Webb spent a little time talking about each.
For Breuer, an inside player, Webb talked about, oddly enough, a three-pointer that he had made. Though he only made 10 on the season, one stuck out in Webb's mind. It was in the middle of Tonganoxie's Jan. 12 game against Mill Valley.
The teams were playing close, but Mill Valley's fans were out of control with their taunting. On the occasion of Breuer's three, he was standing behind the arc looking to pass the ball inside when a Jaguar fan yelled, "Shoot it!"
Despite the man right in his face, Breuer drilled the trey, looked up at the heckler and grinned.
"Talk about a three-pointer," Webb said. "After that, we went on to tear up Mill Valley."
Webb commended Mark Gepner for his hustle and for coming out this season. He didn't play last year, but came up big for the team this season.
Besides being named to Tonganoxie's all-academic team, Gepner also was named to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association's all-academic state basketball team.
For Needham, Webb talked about how much he had contributed to the team on both sides of the ball. He had two games in which he scored more than 20 points, but it was his defense that Webb talked about the most.
"He was definitely on of our defensive stoppers," Webb said. "These two senior, Kyle and Matt, will be hard to replace on defense."
Besides Kyle Rodell's defense, Webb talked about Rodell's success at leading the team as starting point guard.
"Kyle Rodell is the man of steel. He was this team's emotional and spiritual leader," Webb said. "Much of what we accomplished this year should be credited to him. He's my coach on the floor."
After the letters were handed out, Webb thanked everyone in the room for their support of the team.
"I like to thank the seniors as well as the underclassmen for playing just outstanding basketball this year," Webb said. "They really loved basketball, and I know that personally, I will miss every player when he leaves."