HALLS — The once-soft Hardin Valley Academy Hawks boys basketball team — according to new head coach Andrew Arendt — reverted back to cream-puff form in the first half last week at Halls before waking up.
“We don’t always play tough, as you saw in that first half. We didn’t match their level of physicality and their effort,” Arendt said after his Hawks overcame a 12-point first-half deficit, down 38-29 at the break, to win 79-73 Wednesday night, Jan. 4, at HHS.
“In the second half we played as hard as they did,” added the coach, whose team improved to 15-3 overall as led offensively by senior guard Hakeem Rashid’s 19 points. Senior past Jack Smith added 15, while junior guard Nic Hodge scored 10.
“The (final) score reflected that,” Arendt added.
Among the individual Hawks stepping up in the second half, senior wing/forward Amadou Seck (six points) “decided to play in the second half very well, and that was a huge difference,” his coach said.
Other scorers for HVA were A.J. Gray with nine, Bryson Frey adding seven, Ben Brophy five points and Hunter Frey and Isaac Ratliff each scoring four.
Arendt said the HHS Red Devils “are a tough, physical team that can make shots.”
Hardin Valley was coming off a championship in the Rhea County Tournament in late December, going 4-0 after defeating Pickett County, Chattanooga Prep, Tri-Cities Christian and host Rhea County.
“We’re demanding more, and we’re starting to fulfill that,” Arendt said about his team.
However, coming into this season, “We were a soft basketball team,” the HVA coach said.
“But we’ve become a tougher, more physical team.”