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Fouls found everywhere as Hawks fall

One word sums up Hardin Valley Academy’s boys basketball game against Clinton Friday, Jan. 9 – fouls.

Between the two District 3-AAA teams, there were more than 50 fouls called, including two technicals.

Clinton scored 27 points on foul shots alone, a pretty big number, especially considering they won by 31 points, final score 72-41.

“Our guys played hard, but they’ve got to be more aware of their body position. We aren’t very strong. … We’ve got to get stronger, and we’ve got to be able to adjust our game when the refs are calling fouls like this,” head coach Keith Galloway said.

Both teams were slow to score, and at the end of the first quarter the Dragons led 11-7.

“Early in the game, we were exactly where we wanted to be,” Galloway said. “We were putting pressure on the ball. They were having a hard time scoring, and it showed in the first quarter. We were able to keep ourselves in it because of our defense.”

Foul problems began in the middle of the second quarter. In 30 seconds of game time, a total of five fouls were committed between the two teams.

At the end of the half, HVA had 12 fouls and CHS 10. Junior Nathan Garner and sophomore V.J. Brown, both guards, had accumulated three fouls each. Clinton’s Matt Langlois also had three fouls.

Part of the problem, Dominic Ratliff, guard, said, was that HVA had a hard time getting the ball inbounds.

“We weren’t moving around, setting up screens, and getting open. We were trying to do our own thing and not running our plays,” he added.

Ratliff led Hardin Valley with 13 points, but said the team had a rough time hitting its shots.

“I tried everything I could do to win this game, but we had a bad night,” he said. “We did not shoot well at all.”

The second half started out about the same. Halfway through the third quarter, Hunter Smoak, a junior, got a technical. He’d been fighting with a group of players for the ball and fell. One of Clinton’s players grabbed the ball and tried to drive toward the goal. The problem – Smoak was still on the floor. One of the referees called a foul on Smoak, and when he protested, the ref gave him a technical.

It was the first technical given to HVA this season, and Galloway thinks that says something about the team.

“Smoak is an outstanding kid, but he just got upset. He needs to make sure he doesn’t say anything to the refs,” the coach said. The score at the end of the quarter was 55-33. In between quarters, Galloway was given the team’s second technical for remarks he made to a referee. CHS made both of those foul shots, and the fourth quarter began 57-33.

“I apologized to the ref,” the coach said. “I’ve got to make sure I keep things under control. The guys hear me over there, hear me get upset. We’ve got to move on and learn from it.”

The rest of the points in the game were almost exclusively foul shots. Hawks forward Christian Fuller scored his team’s last field goal, coming with 1:47 left in the game.

“The guy that was guarding me was a lot slower, so I stepped back and took a shot,” he said about his score.

By the time the game was over, the Hawks had committed 28 fouls and received two technicals, and the Dragons committed 22 fouls.

Galloway said he and the team are putting this game behind them and will host 3-AAA neighbor Karns Thursday, Jan. 15. Tip-off is around 8 p.m. following the Lady Hawks’ varsity game.

The boys haven’t won a game, but the coach is confident they will.

“We’ve got to get some breaks our way. We’ve got to make shots. I really believe we are going to get that win. It’s going to depend on circumstances and whether we’re willing to keep fighting,” he said.


Earlier in the week, the Hawks lost to District 3-AAA rival Oak Ridge 75-44.

Ratliff led HVA with 13 points, and right behind him was Garner, who had nine during the Tuesday, Jan. 6 game.


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