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Tired legs, low energy doom HVA teams
Garner’s 20 points not enough for Hawks versus South-Doyle in LC CLassic; Hardin Valley girls lose big

Tired legs and lack of energy helped doom Hardin Valley’s varsity basketball teams in the opening round of the Lenoir City Christmas Classic at LCHS Saturday, Dec. 27.

In a battle of winless boys teams entering tourney play, South-Doyle slid past the HVA 55-45, while Walker Valley's girls crushed the Lady Hawks 75-20. More on the Hardin Valley girls later in this story.


Nathan Garner’s 20 points wasn’t quite enough for HVA (0-9), as the Cherokees (1-13) build a 13-point lead late in the first half then withstood a handful of Hawks rallies.

The closest of those rallies cut South-Doyle’s lead to 40-37 on a Garner free throw with 6:24 left in regulation.

Concerning his team’s 16-day lay-off since its Dec. 11 loss at Campbell County, HVA boys head coach Keith Galloway said, “That big, long lay-off killed us. It was tough for the guys to come back in, you could tell their legs were gone. We couldn’t shoot it as well.

“It showed early in the fact that we couldn’t hit a shot,” he added. “We missed a lot of free throws, we were 4-of-12 in the first half.”

What’s lacking is a complete game. “Frustration exists in the fact that we do have a chance and we’ve shown that we’ve got a chance, but we’ve got to play for four quarters,” Galloway said. “Once we start playing for four quarters we’ll start to win some ballgames.”

Individually, “I was very pleased with freshman Tevin Gunn … he got out there and did what we asked him to do. He played hard on defense, made some good passes.

“Patrick Meek was another kid that played really well,” Galloway added. “As far as scoring goes, Nathan Garner does a good job taking the ball to the basket. Dominic Ratliff’s probably our best shooter, but he wasn’t able to get very many shots today [six points].”

In addition to foul problems that eventually saw Ratliff foul out with 4:35 left in the fourth quarter, “They knew he was a shooter, I think they realized that, and got out on him," the coach said.

Galloway said HVA freshman point guard Sherrius Smith “did a great job of breaking them down on penetration and scoring sometimes.”

Garner said about his scoring, “At the beginning of the season I was, like, putting two points up a game, and they were always mad at me for not shooting at all. And I just started shooting more, and shots started to fall. Dominic’s our other main scorer, he puts a lot up, too. He fouled out, and it kinda hurt us, there.

“We’re definitely getting better, our team’s improving as we go on,” Garner added. “At the end of games, we were rough, they could hardly handle the pressure. … Our young players are starting to get better and that’s helping us out.”

Smith scored 11 for Hardin Valley, while Meek and V.J. Brown each scored three and Gunn two points.

About the Hawks being a struggling new program, Gunn said, “I don’t like the excuse that we’re a new team. We’re improving every day, but we need to get better. We’re better than a lot of teams, and we can compete, but we need to play it where we put four quarters up. We’re only playing two or three good quarters, and that’s hurting us a lot. We need to get back with the intensity, and get up.”

About the previously winless Cherokees, Galloway said they “kept battling, I know they were kinda in the same situation we were this year.”

Galloway said SDHS guard Cody Baker, who led all scorers with 21 points, “was pretty tough for ’em … and they had two big guys we had a tough time with [Elijah Finchum 13 points and Kendrick Stiles 11]. We don’t have any size, and that kills us.

“We didn’t give up, we kept battling … that’s always a good sign,” Galloway added.

Looking ahead, “You’ve got to work to get to where you want to be,” Galloway said. “Once we’re able to get to that point where we can be consistent for the entire game, I think we’ll have a good chance to win some games. But it’s just going to come with time, I think.”


“We didn’t have any energy, Walker Valley had a lot of energy, they put a lot of pressure on us and we were not able to handle it,” HVA girls head coach Jennifer Galloway said. “We did a little bit better in the second half, but they shot the ball well and our lack of energy and being able to handle their pressure hurt us bad this afternoon.”

Hardin Valley fell to 1-8 overall, and remains 1-3 in District 3-AAA.

Haley Keith led the Lady Hawks with eight points, followed by Lauren Trent with five, Whitney Moore four and Jennifer Schilling three points.

A Dec. 18 game for the HVA boys and Lady Hawks schedule at Maryville versus the Rebels “got changed over [Jan. 29] because of exams,” Keith Galloway said. “We didn’t know about that until about a month before. We’re new to the system, so we weren’t sure.”


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