CorrespondentFor most of his life, Jake Hackworth has been known as a great shooter.The Myers Park junior is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and the three-point line this season, and is the top scorer for the Mustangs, with 16 points per game.While opposing defenses and coaches focus on his shooting ability, Hackworth takes most pride in the things that don’t always show up in the box score.“I know I can shoot, and I’ve always been a good shooter,” said Hackworth, who started playing when he was 5. “But in my family and our team, we take much more pride in the hustle stats. I really focus on getting that tough rebound or loose ball, or setting up a teammate for a basket with a good pass.“I’ve always felt like, if you can do the little things, that bigger things will come.”Hackworth, 17, has evolved from the sixth man on last year’s team. He’s not only the leading scorer but is second in rebounding (6.7 per game), third in assists (1.6 per game) and averages more than a steal per game.“Jake is such an unselfish and team player that early on he wasn’t looking for his shot as much as we needed him to,” Myers Park head coach Wes Hepler said. “We really pushed him to look to make plays. The more we have asked from him, the more he has given us.”“I remember having several teammates pull me aside in workouts (this summer) and tell me I needed to shoot more,” Hackworth said. “I was used to playing a more lead role on my AAU team (the Charlotte Hoyas), so I had a lot of confidence I could do it at Myers Park.“It also gave me a lot of confidence that my teammates believed I could do it, too.”Hackworth has helped a younger backcourt of sophomore point guard Bill Robertson (4 assists per game) and wing Zaqwuan Matthews (9 ppg) handle the varsity pressure of Southwestern 4A basketball.Hackworth can bring the ball up the court for the Mustangs at times, is the team’s primary inbounder and regularly serves as the “security blanket” against full-court pressure.“I know how it is to be young guy in there learning to play at this level, because I just did it last year,” Hackworth said.He has become a big-time scorer at times, with 24 points against Western Guilford, 23 against Butler and East Meck and 21 points and nine rebounds against Westchester Country Day.While the backcourt is improving, the Mustang offense’s strength is on the inside with 6-foot-6 senior Major Thomas (11 ppg, 8 rpg) and 6-foot-8 senior Clayton Massey (10 ppg, 6 rpg).Myers Park (8-10, 4-4) has been up and down this season, with four consecutive wins that included a victory against Ardrey Kell and a four-game losing streak with a lopsided loss to Rocky River.The Mustangs are in the middle of the SW4A standings with Ardrey Kell, Butler, East Mecklenburg, Rocky River and South Mecklenburg, all within two games and competing for SW4A tournament seeding and playoff berths.“In our conference, every night is a battle, so all we can do is focus on our next game,” Hepler said. “Right now, we still control our own destiny. We can play our way into the top half of the conference or we can play our way to the bottom half. Every game is huge.”While the final two weeks are critical for Myers Park, they also could be a defining moment for Hackworth. He hopes to lead the Mustangs to the postseason but also wants to put himself on the national recruiting radar. Lenoir-Rhyne, Queens University of Charlotte and Washington & Lee have shown interest.“I feel all I can do is focus on what I do on the court, the next play, the next shot,” Hackworth said. “If I can do that, the college (interest) stuff and personal accolades will come.” This story went to print before Myers Park’s game against Ardrey Kell on Feb. 1.