Published: 12:13 AM, Wed Apr 04, 2012
Pine Forest's David May, Alex Bradley headline all-region boys' basketball teams
When he was in elementary school, Alex Bradley said there were some coaches who tried to convince him basketball wasn't going to be his game.
"They told me I wasn't going to grow, that I should stick with football,'' the 5-foot-7 Trojan guard said.
Fortunately for Pine Forest High School, Bradley didn't listen.
He was one of the big reasons Pine Forest enjoyed the best basketball record in school history, 28-2. The Trojans reached the semifinals of the 4-A Eastern Regional tournament on a night when Bradley was sick, and had the stakes not been so high, coach David May said he wouldn't have started Bradley.
"You want to prove people wrong,'' Bradley said. "I think I did a pretty good job at it.''
For taking the Trojans as far as he did, Bradley is this year's Fayetteville Observer All-Cape Fear region boys' basketball Player of the Year.
Coach of the Year honors go to May, who continued to build a successful program at the high school where he used to be a basketball star under long-time coach Chuck Mohn.
Bradley took the final shot for Pine Forest in the regional semifinal loss to Hoke County. Had the Trojans won, it would have set up a rematch with eventual state 4-A champion New Hanover. Pine Forest was the only team this season to hand the state champions a defeat.
"It was frustrating,'' Bradley said of what proved to be the final game of the year for Pine Forest. He played the whole game with flu-like symptoms.
"You were trying to do things you had been doing all year,'' Bradley said. "Your body kind of shuts down. That's what frustrates you the most.''
Bradley has been trying to put the frustration behind him and appreciate what the Trojans accomplished.
"People around the community said we had a good year,'' Bradley said. "We made history. We did a lot of good things.''
He hopes to continue doing good things next fall when he enrolls at UNC-Pembroke on a basketball scholarship. May is convinced he will.
"The biggest thing he did was make everybody around him better,'' May said.
May said the most impressive thing about Bradley is his work ethic.
"He's been the starting point guard all three years I've been here, and every time we had open gym or a workout he was there,'' May said.
May said Bradley also adjusted well to changing roles each season.
"We knew this year he was going to have to score,'' May said. "He got 635 points for the season and over 1,000 for his career. Whatever we needed him to do, he would do.''
As for May, he's building success at his alma mater, in the same gym where he once suited up for the Trojans.
May thought this year's team would be a good one, but he didn't realize how good until it knocked off a strong Garner team in the Miller Invitational scrimmages at South View over the summer.
"We knew we had a chance to be good if the guys bought into it and stayed healthy,'' May said. "We had a 25-game winning streak, we won the Holiday Classic and we made it to the regionals. Those are special things.''
In addition to losing Bradley, May will also have to replace Bryson Hall, E.J. Williams, Isaac Lyerly and Naquan Smith. He and doesn't know exactly what to expect next season, but he knows the formula for success.
"If you've got kids that play for each other, they can overcome a lot,'' he said. "We've got four returners. If we go 28-2, I'll have to retire.
"I'm hoping we'll be competitive, be in the mix and make a run. Time will tell.''
School: Pine Forest Class: Senior
Height: 5-9 Position: Guard
Averaged 14.7 points. ... Made 78 3-point baskets. ... All-Mid-South and All-Holiday Classic.
School: Westover Class: Senior
Height: 6-1 Position: Guard
Signed with Murray State. ... Averaged 15.3 points and 2.2 assists. ... Led Westover to Eastern Regional tournament.
School: South View Class: Junior
Height: 6-0 Position: Guard
Averaged 21.0 points. ... Set South View career record for 3-point baskets. ... Scored over 1,000 points for his career.
School: Hoke County Class: Junior
Height: 6-4 Position: Forward
Averaged 20.0 points and 13.0 rebounds. ... Southeastern Conference 4-A Player of the Year. ... Led team to regional finals.
School: Lumberton Class: Senior
Height: 6-2 Position: Wing
Averaged 18.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. ... All-Southeastern 4-A Conference and All-Robeson County.
DANIEL CAMPS Jack Britt, senior, 6-3, wing
TONY MCNEILL Triton, senior, 6-5, center/forward
CHRIS LINDSAY Trinity Christian, junior, 6-7 forward
BRENNEN WRIGHT Hoke County, junior, 6-2, wing
KENDRICK HARRIS Triton, senior, 5-10, guard