Pack claims basketball COY, POY

Published 11:09 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Washington High School swept the two major Eastern Plains Conference basketball awards as sophomore Chaise Smith was chosen Player of the Year and David Allewalt was voted Coach of the Year.

The Pam Pack finished second in the EPC with an 11-3 record with all three losses to East champion Farmville Central. Their 20-9 overall record the best in 20+ seasons and earned Allewalt his second coach of the year award in the five seasons he’s led the Pack.

“It’s really a staff and program award, because I couldn’t have any success without my outstanding assistant coaches and players who bought into what we are trying to teach,” Allewalt said. “It’s always a great honor when your peers recognize your work and it’s a reflection of how hard my assistants worked and what our guys accomplished on the floor this season.”

Smith led the EPC in scoring with 19.5 points a game, assists (6.4) and steals (3.2). The 6’2 point guard also grabbed five rebounds a game.

“I’m grateful to my teammates and coaches for putting me in the right spot to win this award,” Smith said. “It makes me want to work harder to get another one.”

Smith started from the first game of his freshman season and has steadily improved his ball handling and defense, while retaining his outside scoring and ability to drive to the rim. He said he started to relax midway during his freshman season after a game at Farmville Central.

“They are a legendary program and I scored something like 26 in their gym,” Smith said. “That really helped my confidence to know I could do that against a great team. I’ve worked hard to improve my defense and my on court vision is better after watching a lot of film. I could see I missed guys who were open, so the film told me where they would be. I love to pass as much as I like to score, so it’s helped our team improve. Everybody’s happy when we win and it’s a lot more fun than losing.”

Smith has three offers now from mid-major Division I schools and Allewalt thinks winning player of the year will help other schools take a look.

“We’ve changed conferences since I came here five years ago, but think of the guys who have been player of year,” Allewalt said. “Dontrez Styles won it with Kinston and played at UNC, Terquavion Smith won it at Farmville, played at N.C. St. and has played in the NBA, and Ja Short (Farmville) is at the University of New Orleans. That’s great company to be in and winning it as a sophomore shows that Chaise’s future is extremely bright.”