San Manuel MBB wins AIA Sportsmanship Award

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AIA Sportsmanship Award

  The San Manuel boys’ basketball team recently concluded one of the most successful seasons in school history and followed that achievement by being chosen as the winner of the 2020 Arizona Interscholastic Association 2A Conference Boys Basketball Sportsmanship Award.

  The award “is reserved for a school that exhibits ethical behavior, fair play, and integrity as determined by information collected from (AIA) Varsity game officials,” as written by Brian Gessner, the AIA State Commissioner of Officials, in a letter to San Manuel MBB head coach Damon Lovato.

  “It’s an honor and a reflection of the boys buying into our program day in and day out,” Lovato told the San Manuel Miner during a phone interview. “Our program and our culture never changed.”

  The Miners were selected by the referees, which made the award even more credible, according to Lovato.

  “It’s not a popularity contest,” Lovato said. “It is impartial referees and how they view your program – home and away – our facilities, and how our players carry themselves.”

  Lovato had an interesting response if the award sets the standard for future to classes to emulate.

  “A plaque doesn’t create that, it’s part of our culture already,” he said. “I feel that’s been instilled from day one. Even if we didn’t receive the plaque, sportsmanship is still the standard and expectation within our program. Others now know what we’ve already known about ourselves, and that is rewarding.”

Andy Luberda (1138 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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