Rough season finish for HVA hosting ’Cats

HARDIN VALLEY — The 2022-23 Hardin Valley Academy boys season was nothing short of magical. But all good things must come to an end.

A campaign that saw the Hawks win a school record 23 games ended on a sour note Saturday night, Feb. 25. District 4-4A tourney runner-up Hardin Valley, hosting its first Region 2-4A tourney game in school history, dropped a 71-51 decision to Oak Ridge before a packed, spirited house at HVA.

“We won a bunch of games and that was nice, but we wanted more,” Hawks first-year head coach Andy Arendt said.

The Hawks (23-10) trailed 19-15 after one quarter and were down 35-28 at the half.

But ORHS head coach Aaron Green employed a full-court pressure defense, and the Wildcats (24-5) executed it to perfection, forcing Hardin Valley into multiple turnovers while scoring the first 12 points of the period. Oak Ridge’s 20-3 run opened up a 55-31 edge.

“They were tougher than us tonight, they were the better team and Aaron was a better coach than me,” Arendt said.

Senior guard Amadou Seck led HVA with 11 points, while Jack Smith, a senior post, and A.J. Gray, a junior guard, finished with 10 points each.

Oak Ridge, District 3-4A tourney runner-up, got 20 points from sophomore post Cooper Williams. Kaden Brightharp added 16.

Ray’Quan Watson had 14.