“He’s one of those kids who you have to make them lay down on Sunday nights,” boys coach Robert Churchwell said of Blumenthal.
There’s payoff to such dedication.
The two standouts will have a place in the Harrison annals long after they move on. Both scored their 1,000th career point this season, and Hegstetter became the first Harrison girls player to surpass 1,000 career rebounds.
Blumenthal scored his 1,000th point on Jan. 21 against Dr. Phillips (Fla.) High School in the Marriott Invitational. He scored 28 points in the 81-75 win and was 6-for-8 behind the 3-point line.
Hegstetter notched her 1,000th point one month sooner, in a romp of
Jackson-Atlanta in a Christmas tournament at Walker. She had to wait a bit longer for her 1,000th rebound, which didn’t come until last Friday’s game against Campbell.
Both Hoyas found these accomplishments to be quite satisfying.
“It was humbling for me,” said Blumenthal, who entered the week averaging 16.1 points per game and shooting 53 percent from 3-point range. “I once wrote on a piece of paper that I wanted to win region and, individually, score my 1,000th point. To do both of these is a humbling experience and something I can look back upon.”
What made the achievement particularly special for Hegstetter was the support she has received from the fans throughout her Harrison career, particularly from the student section.
“The student section made this memorable,” said Hegstetter, who has signed to play at Alabama. “The same crew of boys on the front row was there about every game to support me, and I can’t explain how benefiting that was.”
Both players grew up facing players bigger and stronger than they. Blumenthal followed in the footsteps of his older brothers, Eric and Jeffrey, who both went on to play college basketball after their careers at Harrison. Hegstetter grew up in an area of Florida where there were no girls youth teams, so she had no choice but to learn under the boys.
Blumenthal has developed into a shooter, and his offensive efforts have helped put Harrison (18-5, 12-1 in Region 4AAAAA) in position to be one of the top seeds going into next week’s region tournament. The Hoyas will play North Cobb on Friday with the No. 1 seed at stake.
There’s hardly a weakness for Blumenthal on where he can make his buckets. He’s been known to hit shots from mid-range, make layups, hit free throws and finish missed shots.
Blumenthal, who has drawn interest from Kennesaw State, Gardner-Webb, Montana and several Division II schools, has also worked on his defensive play over the last couple of years to become a more multi-dimensional player.
Growing up with the boys on the basketball court has helped Hegstetter become aggressive inside the paint. She’s not afraid of taking contact or drawing charges. She also has the knack of blocking shots of players who she isn’t guarding, simply because of instinct.
Hegstetter began the week‘s schedule leading the Lady Hoyas (13-11, 6-7) with 19.1 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. She was fifth in Cobb County with a 49.1 field goal percentage, and she has 38 blocks on the season.
“She’s got that drive, and that’s what makes her work her butt off,” Harrison girls coach Steve Lenahan said. “She has a great understanding of the games that a lot of girls don’t have.”