McCants powers New Hampton to state title

Rashad McCants saved his best for last.

McCants scored 38 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead New Hampton to an 85-74 victory over a loaded Worcester Academy team in the NEPSAC Class A final on Sunday.

"He can score, shoot and is an absolute warrior," said Worcester coach Mo Cassara. "I think he'll definitely be a pro in a couple of years. He just wanted to win the game."

"He's the best player that's come through this league in my three years here," added Cassara, a former Division I assistant coach. "There's no question about it. He's better than Bernard Robinson and Caron Butler."

McCants came up with the biggest play of the game when he converted a three-point play after Worcester had cut what was once a 21-point deficit to a single point.

"I had just thrown a long pass cross-court that Jarrett Jack intercepted for a breakaway dunk," recalled McCants. "We called a timeout and then broke the press. I flashed to the middle and Craig Smith (Boston College) fouled me, I made the shot and the free throw and we went up four."

McCants didn't just score in every which way against Worcester, he also held Loyola Marymount-bound guard Wes Wardrop scoreless.

"At first when I came here I wasn't worried about defense," McCants said. "Now I'm very focused on defense. Offense comes from defense."

McCants and his teammates left immediately after the game for a one-month winter break. McCants will work on his game and also hit the weight room back in Ashville for the next few weeks, and is also hoping to catch the ACC tournament.

"This win was very satisfying," added McCants. "We've waited a long time to get it. Basically, I wanted to show all the doubters. No matter what people set on you, you have to overcome it. Going into the season, no one thought we'd come out on top. Our school has been waiting eight years to get a championship."

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