Like most first-year programs, Heritage is young. Five freshmen, four sophomores and four juniors make up the team, though they may not play like first-year players.

"We're very young but very athletic," Coach Mark Mallisham said. "We don't look too bad. I'm pretty pleased with the talent. We just have to learn how to play organized basketball. We are going to experience some growing pains, but it will be a baptism by fire."

Junior center Ed Jones played sparingly for Loudoun County last year and is the only one with varsity experience. Junior shooting guard Ontorio Powell-Miller, who attended Leesburg Christian last year, looks to start.

"We're starting from scratch, trying to build the program from the ground up," Mallisham said. "I think we have the tools necessary to do it, and every game we play is a game we look forward to."

Mallisham, a Westfield assistant for two seasons, and witnessed its quick rise to basketball success. Westfield won the AAA Concorde District tournament in its second year and came within a game of qualifying for the state tournament. Still, he is realistic about this year and lists continuous improvement as the primary goal

For now, he jokes that the team's most important goal is "to try to win more games than we won last year."

-- Colin Fitzgibbons