CORNELIUS – Hough High’s coaching staff challenged soccer player Michael Basnett before the season started.
“They wanted me to get as many assists as I did goals,” he said.
That was a tough assignment, considering Basnett’s goal-scoring prowess. But he rolled up impressive statistics in both categories, earning Herald Weekly Boys Soccer Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. Basnett, a senior forward, racked up 29 goals and 24 assists.
Those lofty numbers were accomplished with amazing consistency. Basnett didn’t score in Hough’s opening game, and then had at least a goal or assist in the remaining 27 games. In seven games, he had at least a goal and an assist.
He finished with Hough records for goals in a career (59) and in a season (29). It helped the Huskies reach the fifth round (semifinals) of the state playoffs.
“The best thing about the season was the team we had,” Basnett said. “We all got along and connected with each other.”
Hough overcame a 0-3 start in which it was outscored 17-5. The Huskies finished 22-6.
“We were still trying to get together in the beginning,” Basnett said. “We had a lot of talent, it was just a matter of figuring out where we would play. We didn’t get down about it.”
Two positions that were consistent were forwards, where Basnett and C.J. Bradley (26 goals and 12 assists) gave defenders a lot to contain.
“I was so impressed with how Michael came into this season ready for the challenges that awaited him,” Hough coach David Smith said. “He welcomed C.J. (a transfer student) and knew that having C.J. was going to open up a lot of things for him. I challenged him over the summer to try to have 20+ goals and 20+ assists. He met those numbers and then some.”
Basnett had a four-goal game against Vance, two goals and three assists against Kannapolis Brown, and both goals in a 2-1 win against Myers Park, the first time Hough had beaten the Mustangs.
“Michael’s biggest strength is his relentless work rate,” Smith said. “He has an engine that just does not stop. That was so evident in many of our games this year, especially our playoff games that went into OT. Plus, he never got flustered on the field. He was constantly being fouled and he never let that get in his head. I think he and C.J. really developed a trust for each other that paid off so well for us.”
Herald Weekly 2013 Boys Soccer Coach of the Year
David Smith avoided panic when his team lost its first three games. Instead, he shuffled the lineup to re-tool a Hough High squad that reached the N.C. 4A semifinal. Smith is The Herald Weekly Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
Hough won the MECKA 4A conference title, a springboard to the postseason when they won four playoff games. Three of the victories came in overtime before the Huskies fell to unbeaten Skyland Roberson in the semifinals. Hough won 22 of its final 25 games to finish 22-6. Smith’s team included three players that earned all-state honors – forwards Michael Basnett and C.J. Bradley, and defender Adrian Rinde.