Evan Smotrycz’ prep career is coming to a close but the 6-foot-9 forward gave us a quick update before New Hampton’s final home game of his career.
My last home game is Friday. We play Tilton whose is a rival a couple exits south of us. We have had a long solid week of practice, we had a game scheduled for Wednesday but it was cancelled because of a huge snow storm. We have been staying sharp in practice and have really competed. Our legs are fresh and it should be a competitive and fun game for our fans to watch.
We have prided ourselves on not taking it easy in practice. “You are either getting better or getting worse, never staying the same,” our coach tells us. That’s why we feel confident about our position going into the NEPSAC Tournament. The first game is Wednesday. The seedings are not finished so we don’t know who we will play. Winning the tournament would be hard, but not impossible. If we could get that done it would make the rest of the year that much better, knowing we as a team hung up a banner in our gym.
New Hampton lost the game, 82-81, but Smotrycz provided another quick update after the game:
I don’t really know what to say. I guess we just weren’t ready to play the game. We lost by one. It’s disappointing because that’s the last game we get to play at our gym, ever. What I can say is this, the thing that allows you to move past these games mentall, is knowing that you did everything you could to help your team. The tournament starts Wednesday, and I don’t want to look back on the year and say “I wish I played harder”. I know my team feels the same, so we will be ready.
Now that New Hampton’s regular season is over, they shift their focus to the NESPAC Class A tournament. New Hampton received the seven seed, with a 6-8 record in conference play, and will face Winchendon (12-5). It sounds like New Hampton got a bit of a rough draw, as their first round match-up will likely match-up two contenders. The linked article also has a nice breakdown of the other teams in NESPAC Class A which should give you a better idea of the teams that Smotrycz has been facing all year.
New Hampton lost to Winchendon twice in overtime this year, but they won the most recent match-up fairly easily and Smotrycz had 21 points and 8 rebounds. The tournament tips off Wednesday and New Hampton’s game is scheduled for 8PM. The semis are scheduled on Friday with the championship on Sunday.
Rivals’ Jerry Meyer recently answered a question ($) about whether Smotrycz was a comparable player to Florida’s Chandler Parsons. The conclusion was that Smotrycz is similar in build and shooting ability but might not be quite the athlete that Parsons is. Meyer hypothesizes that Smotrycz is ranked correctly but might be one of those players “who overachieves based on his ranking”.