Bonita Basketball Banquet Toasts a Great Season

March 30, 2010
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From left, seniors Erik Woodruff, Tim Fassas, C.J. Miller and Caelan Tiongson were thanked for their contributions on and off the court.

From left, seniors Erik Woodruff, Tim Fassas, C.J. Miller and Caelan Tiongson were thanked for their contributions on and off the court.

Players know if they can just tough it out during the season, the coach will have kind things to say about them at the season-culminating banquet.

Of course, finishing 24-5 will help elicit positive comments from even the most tight-lipped of coaches.

That’s the way it was on Monday, March 29, at Sierra La Verne Country Club as Bonita Coach Greg Eckler praised player after player for their contributions to the success of the Bonita basketball program at not only the varsity level, but the junior varsity and freshman levels as well.

Eckler, who began the season “cautiously optimistic,” handed out more post-season hardware than any other coach in the Miramonte League as Bonita repeated as league champion.

Coaches like Mark Miller, handing a bouquet to his lovely wife Linda,  don't get through the season without their family's loving support and patience.

Coaches like Mark Miller, handing a bouquet to his lovely wife Linda, don't get through the season without their family's loving support and patience.

Guard James Northup, who averaged about 16 points a game and shot an unbelievable 45 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, was recognized as Miramonte League co-MVP and Bonita’s Offensive Player of the Year.

“We knew James was someone we’d be relying on, but we had no idea he was going to have the year he had, shooting and scoring,” Eckler said. “I think he really emerged as a player and a person, and it was nice to watch.”

Meanwhile, C.J. Miller was named Team MVP. “He’s irreplaceable,” Eckler said about his versatile 6-foot-6-inch senior who “can shoot the three, rebound and block shots. There’s no way we can beat the J.W. North’s, hang with Golden Valley, hang with Chino Hills, and beat Damien without C.J.”

Then Eckler turned to his assistant coach Mark Miller and his wife Linda with a special request. “I’m hoping the Millers somehow are going to have some more kids,” Eckler added, acknowledging the many Millers who have excelled playing Bonita basketball, with C.J. being the last in the line.

Other first-team league selections were junior Casey Horine and senior Tim Fassas.

Horine, who also excels at football, brought some of his gridiron grit and swagger to the basketball team. “Once he got back from football, it took him about two or three weeks to get his basketball touch and feel back, but after that, he started to play really well, and once we hit league, he had a fantastic season,” Eckler said.

Freshman award winners.

Freshman award winners.

Yet the team’s real iron man was Tim Fassas, whom Eckler called an amazing athlete based on his running a 4:59 mile and bench-pressing 56 pounds more than his body weight. “It might be a long, long time before anybody comes anywhere close to equaling those numbers,” Eckler said. “Tim, you can come back in 10, 20 years from now, and you can be impressed with that.”

Eckler also singled out Fassas for his defense. “He is one of the best defenders, I’ve ever coached. He had a fantastic year, a fantastic career and a fantastic last game against Golden Valley.”

Named to the second team was the team’s only sophomore, Garrett Horine, who emerged as a starter as the season developed. “It was amazing to watch him progress and become a dominant player inside,” Eckler said.

Receiving Honorable Mention recognition was junior guard, Jordan Butler. “He epitomizes our style of play,” Eckler said. “He had a fantastic year shooting the ball. He’s intense and scrappy.”

This past season, Bonita also boasted several scholar athletes whose contributions stood out on the court and in the classroom. They were: Zach Brungard, Jordan Butler, Tim Fassas, Shayan Karim, C.J. Miller, Garrett Pendleton, Caelun Tiongson and Eric Woodruff.

JV Coach Steve Morris and Coach Shores recognizes their players for a great season.

JV Coach Steve Morris and Coach Shores recognize their players for a great season.

Eckler credited Bonita’s success to not just superior athletes and coaching, but also parent participation and support. “What makes us special and what makes us better than some programs, perhaps more than we should be, is that we are more of a family,” Eckler noted, adding the traveling Bearcats often filled the stands with more fans than the home team’s supporters.

“You’ve got a reputation now,” Eckler said, turning back to his players. “You were ranked No. 1 for several weeks, that’s how special you guys were.”

Eckler had special praise for the four seniors – Erik Woodruff, Caelan Tiongson, C.J. Miller and Tim Fassas — largely responsible for building that reputation and the remaining players  – Northup, Butler, Bryan Castruita, Zach Brungard, the Horine brothers, Chris Finch, Jimmy Bentz, Shayan Karim and Garrett Pendleton – who will be counted on to enhance and embellish that legacy.

Eckler thanked all his coaches, including Dave Zylstra, Mark Miller and coach Pendleton on the varsity staff; Miller, who pulled double-duty, and Eddie Parra at the freshman level; and Steve Morris and Mark Shores at the JV level, for keeping Bonita’s player pipeline full of talent. These coaches also called up their players to the stage for some well-deserved recognition and a few extra awards, highlighted below:

0132Freshman Team (18-5) League Champions

Defensive MVP – Ryan Ramirez

Offensive MVP – Riley Brungard

Most Improved – Brad Cho

Bearcat Award – Spencer Hoff

Junior Varsity

Defensive MVP – Jeremiah Rasmussen

Offensive MVP – Brandon Cho

Most Valuable Player – Scott Fassas







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