PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Surry Runnin’ Patriots varsity boys basketball team recently honored seniors Nate Gerber and Chad Brantley and claimed a strong win over the Blue Ridge Panthers to mark the occasion.
The Runnin’ Patriots held a slim one-point lead at the half but finished 52-31 over the Blue Ridge Panthers on senior night.
The lead scorer against the Panthers was Nathaniel Goodman with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Both Gerber and Brantley were honored before the game and Assistant Coach Paul Bunke said each one gave a strong showing against the Panthers.
Bunke said, “Gerber was one assist shy of yet another triple-double and finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals.”
Brantley contributed 12 points and nine rebounds to the win. Junior guard PJ Bunke also scored eight points. Andrew Thoppil, Zane Simmons, and Ethan Simmons each had two points.
Both Gerber and Brantley bring balance to the team and are a complement to one another, said Bunke.
Bunke said the team also honored former teammate Dakota Pittman with a moment of silence and an emotional tribute by coach Todd Gerber.
Pittman would have played as a senior this year but was “tragically killed in a motorcycle accident last fall right before the start of the season,” said Bunke.
“Dakota is a young man whose influence is still being felt,” said Bunke. “We continue to hear stories of lives he touched that nobody even realized during his lifetime. He is deeply missed, but we look forward to seeing him again one day.”
The season was dedicated to Pittman and the team breaks its huddle with a familiar “I got this.” The phrase was a favorite of Pittman’s who played as a leader on the team, said Bunke. Another tribute to Pittman is the “shout out to D” prayer done before and after each game.
Gerber wears Pittman’s #1 jersey in memory of his friend and teammate and, during the game, received a basketball signed by teammates celebrating his 1,000th point as a Runnin’ Patriot.
Bunke said, “Nate reached this milestone at the beginning of this season and has added many points to his tally since then. He is a great shooter from the outside, including from three-point range. He can also handle the ball well, driving and finishing at the basket. We are very proud of his accomplishments scoring the basketball, but we are even more proud of his character and the fine young man he is.”
The win against the Panthers brought the team’s record to 10-9.