Mountaineers all for one and one for all

Heritage senior Charlie Hardwick elevates along the baseline against Maryville.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Heritage senior Charlie Hardwick elevates along the baseline against Maryville.

Heritage’s Cameron Engle looks to make the entry pass to Mountaineer teammate Seth Elfstrom.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Heritage’s Cameron Engle looks to make the entry pass to Mountaineer teammate Seth Elfstrom.

You can do a lot with a guy who can really shoot the 3.

Heritage senior Charlie Hardwick walked away the winner of the halftime contest for deep shooters at the Blount Today Basketball Jamboree on Monday. The tough-nosed shooting guard was an emerging force for the Mountaineers toward the end of last season. Bigger and stronger, he looks ready for a leadership role this winter.

Heartening for Heritage coach Tony Hardin, Hardwick isn’t going to be asked to carry the Mountaineers on his own. If Heritage is to make a run in District 4AAA this season, fellow seniors Lucas Woodruff and Adam Murr will be right there alongside Hardwick.

“They’re kind of the three musketeers,” Hardin said, “and we’re building around them.”

The Mountaineers fell, 20-11, to Maryville in their 10-minute quarter of play at the jamboree. Heritage could hardly have been more balanced. Sophomore Justin Teffeteller led the way with three points on the Mountaineers lone 3-pointer of the quarter. Four others — sophomores Matt Wilburn and Jacob Armwood, Hardwick and Murr — added two each.

That’s in keeping with this year’s theme, Hardin said. To be successful this winter, the Mountaineers must not only score as a team but defend and rebound as a team as well.

Everything starts with Woodruff at the point guard, Hardin said. If he’s able to break down defenses, Murr and Hardwick present tantalizing options for a pitch-and-shoot attack on the perimeter. Murr has really been lighting it up during preseason.

“He can just flat out shoot it,” Hardin said, “and his range is just getting better and better.”

Heritage got strong minutes from its first five on Monday. Better still was the play of the reserves. Hardin is one of the best in getting his troops to hound an opponent from baseline to baseline. This Heritage team will be no different, but it takes a lot fresh legs to play that way.

“Our second group did much better than what we expected (at the jamboree),” Hardin said, “so we’re hoping to have a deeper team.”

Teffeteller looks to be building for a big year.

“He could be very, very good,” Hardin said.

A strong upper class that includes seniors Daniel Brinley and Cameron Engle could provide the final piece of a Mountaineer team capable of throwing much more than merely a scare into opponents.

“We’ve got to be very solid defensively, and we’ve got to team rebound because we think we’ve got some guys who can score,” Hardin said.

Not the least of which is the reigning 3-point champion who looks ready to lead.

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