With the final tournaments winding down at the end of the school year in track and tennis, baseball and softball, it is easy to overlook the accomplishments of some of the other talented athletes at Johnson County High School, especially during the fast paced and exiting basketball season. Both boys Longhorn Coach Austin Atwood and Lady Longhorns Coach Todd Whittemore made every effort to give much deserved credit to the players and their families last month at separate special awards banquet ceremonies.
The Lady Longhorns held their event in the commons area of the school, amid food provided from Whittemores own Teammates Pizza Restaurant. Dozens of parents, grandparents, and well-wishers attended the ceremony, which not only featured the meal, but also a slideshow of pictures from throughout the season and a guest speaker. Having coached for several years at Volunteer High School, Whittemore invited former player and team manager Alex Dykes to speak about the impact that basketball has had in his life.
A manager on the sidelines for most of his high school career, Dykes got a shining opportunity as a senior to finally get on the court, going three for three from the foul line, his only career points. Whittemore showed a video of that moment, emphasizing that despite his limited time actually playing the game, Dykes was still an essential part of the team.
Moving into the awards part of the ceremony, Whittemore, alongside wife and assistant coach, Robin Whittemore, and JV and assistant coach Stacey Reece, began recognizing individuals who had been essential in making the season successful. The first and foremost of these was Scott Johnson, a long time supporter of Johnson County basketball who has also been there over the years to film the games from up in the stands.
Student awards began with a presentation from Coach Reece, who explained that many of the awards were chosen and voted on by the members of the team itself. The first JV recognition was the hustle award, which went to freshman Kelsey Duperry. Most improved went to Victoria Bernard, while best teammate was presented to Amanda Potter.
Following a similar format, Coach Whittemore presented the varsity awards, with best teammate going to Sarah Swift, while most improved went to Mary Taylor and the hustle award was given to Brooke Brown. Whittemore also took time to recognize the teams senior players, to whom he presented each a basketball signed by all the members of the team. In turn, Sarah Swift, Kristin Roark, and Porschia Suggs parents were all given an often teary eyed opportunity to speak about their daughters time on the team.
The boys basketball banquet was held at the Rock Restaurant in Boone, where Coach Austin Atwood also gave recognition to the many supporters of the team alongside assistant coaches David Arnold and Trent Snyder. The boys event was more casual with just one set of awards given out for both JV and Varsity. Possibly the most prominent was team MVP which went to one of the Longhorns most consistent players, Brian Dempsey.
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