By Ken Lay
Late turnovers and cold shooting spelled defeat for the Hardin Valley Academy girls basketball team Thursday night.
“We turned the ball over,” Lady Hawks coach Jennifer Galloway said after her team endured a tough fourth quarter in a 47-39 District 4-AAA loss to William Blount at home. “I thought our kids played hard all night and I thought we did a decent job on the boards but we just turned the ball over.”
Further complicating things for HVA (10-7 overall, 2-3 in the district) was the fact that it didn’t have a single field goal over the final eight minutes. The Lady Hawks scored just six points in the fourth quarter. All came from the free throw line.
Hardin Valley’s last successful shot from the floor was a field goal by sophomore Lizzie Davis with 1 minute, 28 seconds remaining in the third stanza and that gave the Lady Hawks a 33-31 lead. HVA led 33-32 after three quarters and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Abbey Cornelius made four foul shots and Paige Gentry converted two and that was all of Hardin Valley’s offense in the fourth quarter.
Cornelius finished the contest with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Hawks, who committed seven fourth-quarter turnovers and shot an abysmal 13-for-53 from the field and made just 1-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Things didn’t go much better for the Lady Governors (14-4, 5-0). William Blount was just 15-for-51 from the floor but they manufactured just enough offense to leave Knoxville with a hard-fought victory and an intact perfect league record.
“We made plays in the fourth quarter,” William Blount coach Todd Wright said. “We hadn’t played well.
“It was probably my fault and some of the girls’ [fault]. But credit Hardin Valley. They did what they had to do.”
The only thing that the Lady Hawks couldn’t do was sustain enough offensive flow to earn a victory.
“I was happy with our effort and I was happy with our defense,” Galloway said.
The Lady Hawks fell behind 7-2 early before rallying to take a 16-15 lead when center Symphony Buxton converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 4:33 remaining in the second quarter.
After that, however, Hardin Valley was held scoreless for nearly four-and-a-half minutes.
The Lady Hawks ended their drought when Gentry made a pair of free throws with 5.1 seconds left in the first half to make the score 25-20.
Davis finished with 10 points for Hardin Valley. Lindsey Roddy scored 11 points to lead the Lady Governors.