Youthful Lady Hawks learning from the bumps of a rugged district season

HARDIN VALLEY — After a strong start to the season, Hardin Valley Academy’s Lady Hawks basketball team entered district play Tuesday, Jan. 11. And the competition stiffened considerably.

“Our district has several of the top teams in the area and in the state,” head coach Jennifer Galloway said. “It’s a tremendous challenge for a young group of kids.”

The Lady Hawks are still seeking their first District 4-4A win. They did get a 35-31 victory over Knoxville Central Thursday, Feb. 3, at HVA. After a loss at Bearden the next night, HV stood at 10-10 overall, 0-9 in district.

A 48-46 district loss to William Blount Tuesday, Jan. 28 — in which injuries played a role — proved to be instructive according to Galloway. “We were super close at the very end of the ballgame and I felt like we learned from that,” she said.

“It was the same situation with Central … tie game with a minute left,” she added. “We learned from our mistakes against Blount and we ended up winning against Central.”

It was a much-needed win for the Lady Hawks, as the end of the season looms followed by the district tournament at Heritage.

Hardin Valley finished the home regular season schedule hosting Maryville on Senior Night Tuesday, Feb. 8, and will complete the regular season against Clinton Thursday, Feb. 10, then at West, Friday, Feb. 11.

Galloway, in her 14th year as HVA head coach — the only varsity girls hoops coach in school history — knows the rest of the season will be a challenge for her young team, which starts two freshmen. But she embraces it.

“We have one more week left in the regular season and we’re excited about what we can do during that week to get some good momentum going into the (District) tournament,” Galloway said. “Our girls have continued to play very hard. They’ve continued to take care of the basketball for the most part.”

A sectional team four years ago, Galloway is optimistic the program is headed in the right direction.

“We’re a young program,” she said. “We’re in a little bit of a rebuilding time. I feel very positive about our team. I really, really enjoy coaching this group. It’s really fun to be around them and I’m really excited about the future of the team.”