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Awards abound at Austintown banquet

March 22, 2013
By Nik Zirounis , Town Crier correspondent

Although the Fitch boys basketball team failed to meet their expectations for the 2012-2013 season, the team still had some sensational individual performers.

Those Falcon feats were recognized on Monday, March 18 at the annual school basketball awards banquet.

"It's a great chance to reward the kids for their efforts," said Fitch head coach Brian Beany about the ceremony.

Article Photos

Photo by Michael Taylor, Town Crier contributor
Jessie Driver steps in to guard a Niles player during the Jan. 11 game. Driver was named team MVP at Fitch’s annual basketball awards banquet, March 18.

Collecting the most awards for the Falcons on Monday was junior guard Jesse Driver. It was a bit of justice that a player who is known for handing the ball out to his teammates on a nightly basis was handed the top trophies. For the second season in a row Driver was the team's leader in scoring, rebounds and assists. Since he achieved that awesome trifecta, Driver was named team MVP. The diminutive guard also added to that trio of honors when he won Fitch's efficiency leader award. That category is based on a computer formula for game statistics. Driver was also named to the 1st team of the All American Conference and was honorable mention All-Northeast Ohio. Coach Beany was certainly not shocked that Driver drove away from the banquet the recipient of so many accolades.

"It's not a surprise," Beany admitted. "Jesse is a great player."

Thankfully for the coach, Driver will be back next winter, as will a few other players who won awards on Monday. Juniors Quincy Higgins and Gabe Chepke both contributed mightily to Fitch's offense this year and a lot of that scoring came from the free throw line. Due to that terrific charity tossing, Higgins and Chepke tied for the team free throw percentage lead.

Mike Butcher will also be back next season and he will be counted on for long distance shooting. Butcher got plenty of practice doing that during varsity games this year as he won the team's three-point shooting award.

A pair of Falcons who are headed to graduation instead of offseason conditioning are seniors Curtis Beverly and Kyle Moore. Both kids were acknowledged at the banquet. Beverly earned one of his accolades the hard way by picking up the most charges on defense. He also shot well enough while on offense to lead the league in field goal percentage earning that award too. Moore joined Beverly by picking up his first varsity letter.

"I'm happy for them because they are seniors," Beany said.

Other first time letter winners were Chepke, Higgins, Butcher and Austin Hogan. Driver and another fantastic junior Alex DiFrancesco were second time letter earners.

With so many solid juniors ready to return to the court in November, next year's awards banquet may possibly have to wait until the Falcons cut a few nets down.



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