AUGUSTA — Versatility is the name of Matt Sekerak’s game.

“He’s my Swiss army knife,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said.

A year ago, the Swiss army knife had to go under the knife after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament and two menisci just before last year’s Western Class C tournament began.

The injury was a major blow for Winthrop, which had been one of the top teams in the Mountain Valley Conference but lost in the quarterfinals to Maranacook, the Ramblers’ opponent in Friday’s Western C semifinal at 8:30 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

For Sekerak, the injury was a test of his resolve and fortitude.

“It was probably the most humbling experience I’ve gone through personally,” he said. “It was a lot of work, but it was completely worth it.”

MacArthur and Sekerak’s teammates helped the 6-foot-1 senior swingman get through the pain and drudgery of rehab.

“This group, from the seniors all the way down to the sophomores and freshmen, it’s a family. It’s more than a team,” Sekerak said. “I know that there are a lot of people that say that, but we’ve spent so much time together. It really and truly is a family. We’re all there for each other.”

Sekerak saw that family from a little different perspective during summer basketball, acting as an assistant coach on Winthrop’s bench.

“It’s a learning experience. You get to see both sides,” he said. “It’s hard when you’re out there on the floor to see everything that Coach sees. But you come on the sideline and you understand what he’s seeing and it helps you when you’re out there.”

Sekerak rehabbed diligently enough to be ready for soccer season, where he served as Winthrop’s goal-keeper. It took until about midway through the season for him to get over the psychological affects of the injury, but he still garnered all-MVC recognition for his work in the net.

He earned all-conference honors in basketball, too, even though getting into basketball shape took a little longer. Playing without a knee brace, he looks like he never suffered the injury.

“It’s a testament to how hard he worked in the offseason,” MacArthur said. “For a kid to come back from a completely blown knee in six, seven months, just shows the type of kid he is.”

“He’s back,” MacArthur added. “He’s my go-to guy defensively and he’s probably one of my most impressive seniors and leaders.”

Sekerak relishes his role as the Ramblers’ defensive stopper, but also demurred at being singled out for his shutdown skills on a team that prides itself on defense.

“That’s my job, don’t let their best player score,” he said. “It’s just a different feeling than being a scorer.

“…The great thing about this team is we play such a great team defense that anyone out there could be a stopper. And on offense, anyone out there can score.”

Sekerak’s scoring ability is sometimes overlooked in a balanced Winthrop offense. But it is where MacArthur received final assurance that his Swiss army knife was all the way back.

“He’s a very talented offensive player,” MacArthur said. “He can shoot the ball incredibly well when he’s open, and recently he has. And that’s kind of where he left off last year. He was not only shooting the ball well, he could get to the rim. And I think right now he’s getting back in full stride.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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