First Posted: 2/22/2009
A combined five players from Mount Airy and East Surry were chosen to this seasons Northwest 1-A all-conference team, with three coming from the newly-crowned Northwest 1-A conference tournament champion Granite Bears and two from the Cardinals.
Seniors Robbie Rives and Dillon Bobbitt, along with junior Wade Moody, were chosen to this seasons team from the Bears.
Moody, the Bears leading scorer in 2008-2009, came on strong out of relatively nowhere, having been in the shadow of Bobbitt and former Bear Tyler Bentley.
Mount Airy coach Kevin Spainhour said Moody improved his game over the offseason by working extremely hard on his skills.
Wade was a little bit of a surprise for people in our area at the beginning of the year, Spainhour said. He really put a lot of work in during the offseason. He grew a little bit, but he was phenomenal from the beginning of the year and as teams started focusing on him, he went through a spell he kind of cooled off a little bit but he is a winner and wade has found a way.
Moody hit some spectacular shots this season along with breaking out for several high-scoring performances.
After a mid-season back injury slowed the spindly guard down a bit, Spainhour said he was proud and relieved to see his top-scorer regain some of his early season form down the stretch.
Over the last two or three weeks, he has really regained a lot of his confidence, Spainhour said. He is a playmaker for us. He makes some tough shots and creates a lot of shots for other people. Hes the kind of kid you can make an adjustment with him as a coach and he immediately takes it to the court. He is very coachable.
Spainhour said while it will be tough to replace seniors Rives and Bobbitt, one fact which will help ease the pain of graduation will be the return of Moody.
Were excited about having him back, and weve been blessed with the last few years with really good seniors, Spainhour said. We knew we were going to miss Robbie Reid this year, but its going to be mighty hard when Dillon and Robbie Rives suit up for the last time, because they epitomize what Mount Airy basketball is all about.
Rives and Bobbitt have played integral roles for the Bears for the past two seasons. Bobbitt runs the show from the point, while Rives uses his versatile skill set to force matchup problems for other teams.
Rives is an inside player who has no problem floating to the perimeter and knocking down deep shots.
Spainhour said his vocal and jovial senior forward has become much more of a leading force in the locker room during his final season and has visibly improved from a solid junior campaign, accepting the role of a senior and helping his teammates improve along the way.
The difference in Robbie as a senior this year is he really started to lead and, in doing so, he really stopped thinking so much about his own game, Spainhour said. Its really freed him up to shoot the ball well. Hes shooting the ball from 3-point range better than he has ever shot it, but he is concerned about leading his team rather than his shots going in.
As for Bobbitt, Spainhour called the fiery point the Bears best defender, adding Bobbitt has improved in his final season by reducing his turnovers and increasing his scoring output.
Im really proud of Dillon Bobbitt, Spainhour said. He played for us as a sophomore and kind of got thrown in the fire after Tyler Bentley was injured, but he has progressed so much as a basketball player.
Spainhour said Bobbitt has brought determination and grit to the Bears.
Hes got the heart of a champion and he puts it all out there, Spainhour said. God didnt bless him with a whole lot of natural abilities, but he has maximized his potential. For a kid to be able to do that, it is really gratifying as a coach. Hes our heart and soul. I cant say enough about him and how proud I am of him.
Marion and Tuttle make a difference
Coach Jason Anderson and his East Surry Cardinals have had some tough times this season.
With injuries to some of his top players, including would-be all-conference performer Hunter Diamont, Anderson has had to make due with what has been presented to him and the Cardinals.
But never one to make excuses, Anderson and company took on all challengers and salvaged a playoff caliber season out of adversity, winning seven of their final 10 games to finish 12-13 on the season.
Two reasons the Cardinals have the privilege of continuing into the postseason is the play of two of its most effective seniors, Patrick Marion and Spence Tuttle, with the rest of the Northwest conference taking note as well, picking both Marion and Tuttle for this seasons all-conference team.
Anderson said Marion and Tuttle, like the rest of his team, were forced to adjust to new roles in the absence of Diamont and others.
Theyve had to step up and take a different role this year with Hunter out, Anderson said. But they worked hard, they made themselves better and accepted their roles and they have done whatever I have asked of them as a coach.
Anderson said all of his seniors came into this season with a fire.
Weve got five seniors, and they all took it personal this year, and they wanted to make the team better, not just those two but the other three as well, Anderson said.
With Tuttle and Marion, Anderson said they brought toughness and strength to the Cardinals low post game.
When you look at our team, the first thing you had to stop was our inside presence, Anderson said. Another thing you had to plan for was our rebounding. We did a good job of both of those things and those two guys are key in that.
Contact Thomas Smith at [email protected] or 719-1920.