HVA girls claim Central tourney title; boys rally past Cleveland

KNOXVILLE -— The high school girls basketball season is scarcely two weeks old, but Hardin Valley Academy already has avenged a loss — nd earned a championship trophy in the process.

HVA accomplished both feats Saturday afternoon, Nov. 25, outlasting Jefferson County 57-50 in the title game of the Central Thanksgiving Classic at CHS.

“I’m really proud of the way we played,” Hardin Valley head coach Jennifer Galloway said. “We lost to them by one up there in the second game of the year.”

Meanwhile, Shane Chambers’ Hawks rallied past Cleveland 64-63 in overtime, led by a senior wing who got hot late and a senior reserve post’s end-of-game heroics, in the final Hardin Valley Academy Classic game at HVA Saturday. The Hawks improved to 4-1 starting the week [more later in this story].

Abbey Cornelius, Lady Hawks 6-foot-2 senior post, had a game-high 17 points versus Jefferson County. The HVA girls also improved to 4-1. “We came in here today wanting some revenge after they beat us up there,” Cornelius said. “... We played two good teams here this weekend and that will help us get ready for our district.”

Lizzie Davis added 12 points for HVA and Paige Gentry finished with nine. Gentry scored six [all free throws] over the final eight minutes to help keep JCHS [3-3] at bay.

Kiara Inman had six points [two 3-pointers], Malaka Grice added four and Autumn Fields three.

For the HVA boys, Tristen Waite, senior wing, heated up from long range just in time. He nailed three straight 3-point baskets early in the fourth quarter, helping HVA rally and eventually force overtime.

Senior reserve post Jordan Ewing, who had scored just one point in regulation play, converted a conventional 3-point play — a 7-foot jumper and foul shot — with just 9.6 seconds left that stood up.

“I just put myself in a situation to score, and I scored,” Ewing said. “That was my first game-winning shot — it’s a special moment.”

Waite scored a game-high 25 points. “I was hot,” he said. “I’ve been struggling this year, I haven’t been hitting many shots so it felt good to get it out of my system.”

“That was a great team win,” said Tanner White, Hawks senior guard who scored 10. Fellow senior guard Aaron Dykes ended with 11 points.

Other HVA scorers against the Blue Raiders were Aaron Dyles with 10, Luke DeFur five and Cartez Campbell four. Andy White and Lukas Cook each scored two, with Bryce Jenkins adding a free throw.