SMITHVILLE — Smithville returns to action this winter coming off one of the best years in recent memory. The Warriors finished last season 13-13, their best since 2016. Last year, Smithville was able to also secure their first postseason win since 2016.
This year, they look to continue that success and go further in the postseason. The team will feature one of the best basketball players in the area, Ryker Edwards. The junior led the team in the scoring with 18 points per game and is a returning all-conference member.
“It’s his competitive nature,” head coach Eric Bennaka said. “He’s one of the most completive kids that I’ve been able to coach so far in my nine-year coaching career. Everybody feeds off of that and they think, ‘If Ryker can do it, I can do it.’”
One difference for the Warriors this year is being able to add a varsity assistant to their team. Bennaka said his team was the only one in the Suburban Conference to not have a varsity assistant.
“That’s been the biggest improvement,” Bennaka said. “We have more time in practice with smaller groups and work on more things.”
The goal for Smithville this year is to try to get everyone involved on the court, especially when the Warriors are in transition.
“When you’re running the floor in transition, you have a lot more opportunities for guys to just fly,” Bennaka said.
Bennaka’s squad of athletes and shooters will open their season on the road in a tournament at Savannah Tuesday, Nov. 30. The Warriors will play their first home game Dec. 10 against St. Pius X.