Ruffin, Simmons honored by NCC

Published 12:12 pm Friday, March 2, 2012

ELIZABETH CITY – The Northeastern Coastal Conference has honored a pair from Hertford County High School.

Veteran basketball boss Charles Simmons was named Coach of the Year following his team’s perfect 12-0 regular season in the league and sophomore Jqwan Ruffin named Player of the Year in the league.

Simmons, who is one of the top five active coaches in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in wins, said he was proud of the young men on his team.

“The honor is nice, but I think it is a testament to these guys,” he said of being named Coach of the Year. “We asked a lot of people to step up because we returned just one starter from last year. They did exactly that and I can’t say enough about what they accomplished.”

Ruffin averaged 16.4 points per game and just under four assists a game for the Bears this season. He also had just over four rebounds per game.

“He was the nucleus that made us go,” Simmons said. “He was a clutch player and when we needed a big-time shot, he got it. He loved that pressure.”

In addition to Simmons and Ruffin, three other Bears were honored as part of the All-Northeastern Coastal Conference teams in basketball.

Ruffin was joined on the first team by senior Wayne Simmons.  Simmons averaged 10 points and 4.5 assists per game during the year.

“Wayne was an integral part of our success,” Coach Simmons said. “When he played well, we played well as a team.”

HCHS senior Shabazz Atkins was named to the second team.

“Shabazz was our handyman so to speak,” his coach said. “We asked him to do a lot of things and he did them all well.”

The final HCHS honoree was Brian Beale, a senior who was selected Third Team All-Conference.

“He was probably our biggest surprise this season,” Simmons said. “He had a lot of energy and probably got up and down the court better than anyone in the conference.”

In addition to those, Bertie High School had a pair of players honored by the league. Malcolm Cherry was selected to the Second Team and Drashwaun Morris was Third Team All-league.

The entire First Team included: Ruffin, Simmons, Junior Barrow of Edenton, Jacquan Respass of Pasquotank, Naquan Gant of Pasquotank and Aaron Carver of Northeastern.

The Second Team included Atkins, Cherry, Karem Felon of Northeastern, Marquise Whidbee of Northeastern and Jamez Moore of Edenton.

The Third Team was Morris, Beale, Billy Foster of First Flight, Juwan Harvey of Currituck and Leon Walston of Pasquotank.