Hardt Returns As Freshman Basketball Coach


Veteran coach Chuck Hardt has returned to the hardwood scene after an absence of almost two decades.

After Hardt stepped down as the Longhorn varsity boys coach in the late-1980s, most of his energies went into coaching the highly successful PHS cross country and track and field teams. He's also a physical education teacher at PHS.

This summer, Hardt accepted the freshman boys coaching position at PHS and has the plebes off to a 2-0 start.

After defeating Phoenix Notre Dame 61-32 in the season opener Nov. 24, the frosh returned to the hardwood the following day in Apache Junction to defeat the Prospectors 50-44.

The young players, Hardt said, have talent but are still struggling to learn the nuances of the game.

In the win over Notre Dame, the team showcased a balanced offensive attack in which seven of the nine players on the roster scored. Hunter Hardt, the coach's son, led all scorers with a game-high 20 points. Bryson Addington tallied 15 and Alex Bunk had eight.

In the win, the Horns jumped out to a 14-5 early lead only to see the Saints put on a mild rally. At halftime, Payson held a precarious 25-18 lead.

In the third quarter, Payson ended any suspense about the outcome of the game by outscoring Notre Dame 18-2.

Against homestanding Apache Junction, Bunk led the scoring parade with 19 points. Point guard Miles Huff finished with 13, nine of which came on three-pointers. Addington tacked on 10.

The young Longhorns could attribute the victory to a second quarter outburst in which Payson outscored Apache Junction 20-11. In the second half, the Horns were outscored 24-18.

The freshmen return to the hardwood at 4 p.m. Dec. 10 in Prescott.

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