Where Are They Now?: Spont an Integral Part of 2003 State Title Hoop Squad
Will Spont was the sixth man on Bellingham High’s state championship basketball team in 2003, and it’s easy to understand why he was called “the sparkplug.’’
Only a junior, the 6-foot-3 Spont played either forward position and even played center in certain situations. An aggressive, slashing-style competitor, Spont usually gave coach Barry Hutchinson the medicine the Blackhawks needed. His infusion of energy came in the form of offense and defense.
“I heard the nickname ‘Sparkplug’ on many occasions,’’ the 29-year-old Spont said. “I came off the bench as a junior because coach Hutchinson had Dorien Brown, Matt Blue, Jeff Cammarata, Ricky Santos and Ben Belcher as starters. They were all very talented and gifted. But at times when points, rebounds and defense were lacking, I got the call to provide those things.’’
Spont averaged seven points and six rebounds in his role as a reserve, but when he was a senior playing on basically a team with far less ability than the 2003 contingent, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds. He was voted the Tri Valley League’s MVP and a Metrowest Daily News all-star. Worcester State scouts noticed Spont and, after two years of monitoring his progress, offered him a financial-aid package after graduation.
“I had a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) against Watertown in the state tourney semi-final game at Boston Garden,’’ Spont recalled. “A year later as a senior, when we lost in the tourney in the first round against Hopkinton, a Worcester State assistant emphasized how much the school wanted me.’’
The college’s persistence paid off. Spont started for three years and finished with 1,036 career points. He had averaged 10, 12, and 14 points in those three campaigns. A business major, he was a two-time, second-team MASCAC all-star and also was selected to play in a New England all-star game.
“We had .500 teams at Worcester State,’’ Spont noted. “The experience was rewarding because I developed some excellent friendships and played a major role on the team. I scored my 1,000th point against Framingham State, and my best game offensively was a 27-point outing in a loss to Clark University.’’
Spont’s experience playing on a state title team as a junior at Bellingham is without doubt his top thrill, especially as a first-year player on the varsity. “It was fun,’’ Spont said. “We had only one loss in the regular season (Medfield), then won all six games in the tourney, downing Bromfield for the championship. Few expected us to go all the way. We played some big towns and cities, like Watertown, Wareham and Westwood. We gained confidence with each win and the ride to the title was simply amazing.’’
Spont’s 17 points against Westwood during the regular-season meeting elevated his confidence and left an impression of just how good he could be when he became a senior.
“After we won the state title, the returning players vowed we’d work hard to make it to the tourney again,’’ Spont noted. “We went 10-10 and just made it, but we lost to Hopkinton in the first round. Guys like Adam Remillard and Kevin DeGray were scrappy players. We got to the tourney and fulfilled our goal.’’
Spont admired Hutchinson, a coach he labeled “a great motivator who let you know when you messed up.’’ Hutchinson died suddenly of a heart attack in 2006 at the age of 47. “It was sad to learn of his passing,’’ Spont said. “He was an incredible force for his players.’’
Still single, Spont turned to sales after his four seasons at Worcester State. Today, he’s working as a bartender in Boston and studying to become an EMT.
Relying on a philosophy of winning and improving every game, Spont played with a small chip on his shoulder. He felt he could have been a varsity player as a sophomore. “I had something to prove,’’ he said.
And he did, becoming a captain at both Bellingham and Worcester Sate and taking home MVP honors in the TVL and conference all-star recognition in college. “I tried to live up to my role as a captain by being responsible,’’ Spont said. “I played an aggressive, hard-nosed style, and I committed to playing strong defense.’’
Spont was indeed “the sparkplug’’ that ignited the engine at Bellingham, and he later dominated as a 1,000-point scorer in college.