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New era dawns with HVA basketball
Four juniors lead ‘quick’ Hawks boys team; post height an issue

Four juniors represent most of the varsity high school experience, and much of the talent, Hardin Valley Academy’s varsity boys basketball team brings to the table in the program’s inaugural season.

A new member of District 3-AAA with the likes of Oak Ridge and Karns, the Hawks have “some pretty good shooters,” HVA head coach Keith Galloway said. “They can handle the ball, they understand the game.”

Concerns? “Inexperience as far as playing at the varsity level,” Galloway said of a team without seniors [the school has no seniors in 08-09]. “We don’t have much size [biggest man is 6-foot-3]. We’re going to try and keep it away from the basket on defense.”

Style of play? “I guess we’re going to be more of a run up and down the floor-type team,” said Galloway, whose wife, Jennifer, is head coach of the HVA varsity girls. “We want to speed the game up. … I don’t think teams are going to want to press us because we do have some quicker guys.

“On defense we’re going to be more of a ‘don’t let them get to the basket’-type team. Make them shoot contested jump shots.”

Junior Nathan Garner “is one of our better players,” Galloway said of the 6-foot-2 guard. “He can shoot it, he can drive to the basket. … And he’s pretty strong.”

Junior guard Dominic Ratliff “is probably the best shooter we’ve got on the team,” Galloway said. “Handles the ball well enough to be able to possibly play some [point guard] for us. He’s strong.”

Junior guard Hunter Smoak “is solid defensively,” Galloway said. “Offensively, he’s strong with the ball. He’s got a good shot, and he’s very heady. Got great court vision.”

Though 6-foot-3 junior post/forward Patrick Meek is relatively new to organized basketball, “He picks up on things very quickly,” Galloway said. “He’s quick, he’s tough, he’s strong, he gets after it”

Sophomores Trey Byrd, a 6-foot-3 forward, and Jamison Baker, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward, “will contribute quite a bit,” Galloway said.

Other team members looking to contribute are sophomores: guards Tyler Baker and V. J. Brown, and forwards Zach Clevenger and Christian Fuller. Freshmen are Tevin Gunn and Sherrius Smith.

(No Hardin Valley Academy boys team picture available at press deadline)


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