HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Community College women’s basketball team signed a package deal and supersized it on Tuesday.
On the surface, HCC coach Marlys Palmer added two prime Washington County recruits by signing Smithsburg’s Katie Sprecher and Boonsboro’s Ashley Smothers to the program. The Hawks got much more in the process.
“I think this is a landslide for us,” Palmer said. “Katie can do so much and we love Ashley’s athleticism so much. This is huge. With these two players, we get two, but it was like signing four or five.”
Sprecher comes to HCC after playing with the ultrasuccessful juggernaut of female athletes in Smithsburg’s senior class that has dominated county prep sports for two seasons. Smothers was the shooting guard and captain at Boonsboro who made an impression with her defense.
In Sprecher, Palmer arguably signed the program’s best all-around county recruit since Heather Aleshire, who left as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“She can post up, hit the 3, rebound, pass and hit free throws,” Palmer said. “She is a complete player.”
Sprecher led the Leopards to the Maryland Class 1A West final by scoring 17.6 points with 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game to be named the Herald-Mail’s player of the year.
She did all this while playing with the likes of Sara Rishell and Taylor Belella, who all teamed to win two straight 1A state volleyball titles.
“I just want to come and play my game and let things come,” said Sprecher, who is wearing a sling on her right arm after undergoing shoulder surgery.
“It was great playing with Sara and Taylor because we knew each other’s moves and what each of us were thinking. Here it will take time to jel, but as basketball players, you can feel when it does.”
Sprecher chose HCC to stay close to home while trying to make a decision on a major.
For Smothers, playing college basketball was a late blooming dream.
“I love basketball, but I never thought about going to college until I was a freshman,” she said. “I just love to play, but school goes by so fast.”
Smothers’ quickness has become her greatest asset, along with an underused ability to shoot the ball.
“We saw her ability to play the college-level game,” Palmer said. “She has a nice shot and plays very unselfishly.”
Smothers, though, says her speed is more important on the other end of the court.
“I can play defense and love to steal the ball,” she said. “I like to be a team player. I came to HCC because it’s an opportunity to play with girls I’ve never played with and a chance to go different places to show your talents.
Smothers averaged 12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 steals for the Warriors as a senior and was named to the Herald-Mail’s girls basketball first team.
The versatility of Sprecher and Smothers adds a new dimension to HCC’s team.
“You always stand there and second-guess yourself, but we like our players,” Palmer said. “Our returning players have had a good spring and worked hard. Then adding the girls we have coming in and it all looks good.”