There’s no substitute for having been there.
Seniors Ryan Click and Jay Reynolds were there when Maryville won it all two seasons ago. Reynolds, a 6-foot-9 center, helped the Rebels dominate the glass in knocking off three ranked teams en route to a Class AAA state championship. Click hit the shot every kid in America dreams of to win it all, his 3-pointer as time expired in double overtime — the only shot he would make for the tournament — securing Maryville the title with a 69-66 win over Clarksville.
“You’ve got two key components there with good experience,” Rebel coach Mark Eldridge said. “I think the biggest thing we’ve got to get is chemistry. All summer and all fall, our chemistry has been great.”
Maryville got four points from Reynolds inside, with Click draining the lone 3-pointer he took, in defeating Heritage, 20-11, in a quarter of play at Monday’s jamboree. Bigger for Eldridge were the five points from senior Justin Wilson, with junior Jack Sanford adding four, senior Wes Spears three on a trey.
“He (Spears) is shooting it well,” Eldridge said.
Wilson is key to a lot this season, Eldridge said. If he can handle the point guard duties, it frees Click to slide down to his more natural shooting guard spot.
“And he really shoots it well,” Eldridge said.
The inside/outside combination of Reynolds and Click is capable of quite a bit on its own. Click is two seasons removed from the shot heard round the world. He’s bigger, stronger and his stroke has only gotten better with the passage of time. Reynolds is a genuine force underneath.
Junior Cameron Langley is a swing man who, at 6-4, will cause matchup problems for several teams. Junior Tucker Haynes will be counted on heavily to aid Reynolds inside. When the football Rebels are done with postseason, over to the hardwood will come guards Stian Romberg, Zane Winders and Desmond Horne.
“Football’s really going to help us,” Eldridge said. “I think those guys from football are going to bring some toughness and how to win.”
Then there’s the thing Eldridge prizes most about these Rebels.
Talent and depth are only part of the equation. This Maryville team, Eldridge hopes, will be defined by its drive.
“It’s one of the hardest working practice teams I’ve ever had, going back to Anderson County,” Eldridge said. “They come out every day wanting to get better.”