Sr. Night done right: Lady Hawks triumph behind Grice, Laugherty

HARDIN VALLEY — Wins have been hard to get for Hardin Valley Academy over the last two seasons. But the Lady Hawks nabbed a pair of home victories late last week to close out the regular season on a high note.

Hardin Valley celebrated Senior Night Thursday, Feb. 13, with a 78-72 non-district win over Clinton.

The Lady Hawks found themselves down 14-11 late in the first quarter before getting a spark off the bench from Avery Laugherty. She entered the game and promptly knocked down three consecutive 3-point shots to close the opening frame, after which the Lady Hawks had a 20-14 lead.

Hardin Valley would build a 20-point lead in the second stanza and wouldn’t trail again.

The fourth quarter had its share of anxious moments as the Lady Dragons make a fierce comeback attempt. Clinton closed its deficit to 76-72 with 7.4 seconds remaining in the contest.

The Lady Hawks, who took a 41-21 lead when senior forward Malaka Grice scored with 3 minutes, 42 seconds left in the second quarter, had a 61-47 advantage heading into the final eight minutes. They would have to hold off a fierce rally from the Lady Dragons (15-14), who made four 3-pointers down the stretch.

Hardin Valley head coach Jennifer Galloway said she was pleased to see her team pick up a win over Lady Dragons and said she has enjoyed watching her team improve throughout the season.

“Every time this team takes the floor, they look at it as a chance to get better and that makes them a lot of fun to coach,” Galloway said. “I was really proud. Our kids came out strong and we were able to finish.”

The Lady Hawks boasted a balanced scoring attack on this night, and it was Grice who led the way. She scored 32 points, including 18 before halftime. Laugherty had 21 and knocked down five shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

Tori Adams chipped in with 10 points and Kate Bass added eight points, for the Lady Hawks, who downed West High on Friday.

The Lady Hawks close the regular season 11-16 overall and 5-9 in District 4-AAA.

Grice said that winning on Senior Night was big for HVA,

“It feels good to have the team all come together and show that we can win these games,” she said. “It’s great to put things together and get a win on our senior night.”

Clinton was bitten by the turnover bug and while the Lady Dragons have been riddled with injuries this season, coach Alicia Phillips was disappointed in her team’s effort.

“We came out slow and we turned the ball over,” she said. “We have some young girls and some new kids in the rotation, but we turned the ball and we didn’t defend and those are all inexcusable things.

“I was proud of the way that they battled back but it was just too little, too late.”

Clinton’s Sarah Burton led all scorers with 35 points and Niyah Sanders finished with 15 for the Lady Dragons.