Some extra free throw practice paid huge dividends for the Hardin Valley Academy boys basketball team last week.
The Hawks (10-7 overall, 5-2 in District 4-AAA starting the week) made 11 of 14 free throws over the final eight minutes, helping lift HVA to a 53-46 District 4-AAA win over Farragut before a boisterous house at FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymna-sium Friday night, Jan. 13.
Hardin Valley junior Tanner White said the foul shots sealed a crucial victory.
“All week we were practicing free throws,” said White, who scored all three of his points from the charity stripe in the final frame. “In our last game, we were like 3-of-14 [free throws] or something like that.”
Those key late foul shots helped the Hawks withstand a late surge from FHS, which stood at 6-8, 2-5 starting the week.
Despite being down most of the night, and trailing 36-26 after three quarters, the Admirals battled valiantly and pulled to within 42-40 when Ethan Sherrill buried a pair of free throws with 59.6 seconds remaining.
But things would come unraveled for Farragut down the stretch: a pair of intentional fouls and a technical allowed Hardin Valley to take advantage at the foul line.
“We’ve been struggling in the fourth quarter,” said HVA junior Tristen Waite, who led his team in scoring with 18 points, including five 3-pointers. “So our focus was to come in in the fourth quarter and take it to them.”
Anders Cook, Hawks junior, added 12 points.
“We started off a little slow tonight,” said Sherrill, a junior point guard who scored 16 points in the game and had nine in the fourth quarter. “They were pretty much ahead the whole game but we came back. ... Then we made some dumb mistakes and had some dumb turnovers late.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Admirals head coach Chris Cool said. “I’m really proud of my kids and I told them that after the game. They did everything that we asked them to do.”
Senior guard Nick Rogers was Farragut’s top scorer with 14 points.
“Rogers is a great player and a terrific scorer and one of the things that we wanted to do was make sure that Rogers took tough shots,” HVA head coach Shane Chambers said. “... I felt like we were able to send guys after him and keep an eye on him on the help side.”
Farragut, however, ended the week on a positive note. The Admirals defeated Heritage 56-43 on Saturday. Rogers had 21 points and Bolen added 13.