D200219 hatton girls

Hatton coach Chasta Chamness directs her players during the Northwest Regional Tournament finals on Tuesday at Wallace State Community College. [DAN BUSEY/DECATUR DAILY]

Basketball season is officially over in Lawrence County. 

It was a season filled with a lot of twists and turns, as well as a few surprises. Along the way the county ended up with two teams over 25 wins and competing at Wallace State in the Northwest Regional Tournament.

 The season gave us plenty to talk about from November to February and also gave us plenty of takeaways leading into next season.

Birmingham or bust for Lady Hornets in 2021

Hatton was so close to advancing to the final four this year, losing by just three points to Cold Springs, the defending state champions. Head coach Chasta Chamness made it clear in the after game press conference that anything short of the final four in Birmingham in 2021 would be failing to meet expectations. 

A lot of coaches and players say that after a season ending loss, and while they do mean it sometimes it doesn’t always fruition. That’s not the case for the Hornets. 

While they lose three solid seniors, they return a whole lot. Freshman Kailyn Quails looked like a superstar in the making in her first season as a starter, while Junior Kamie Kirk showcased just how dominant of a mismatch she can be with a strong showing at the regional tournament. Mallory Lane, Grace Ann Johnson, Lillian McGregor and Dagen Brown are the other returning players. Oh, and don’t forget Josie Harville, the Hornets star of the previous two seasons before an ACL injury in game one this year ended her Junior season. Hatton would be great next year regardless, but adding Harville back to the mix makes them a beast of a team. 

Yes, Hatton has everything they need to make a run at a blue map next year. The only real question will how will the sky high expectations affect the team? 

Departing seniors leave Lawrence County in better place 

No doubt the biggest surprise of the season was the Lawrence County Red Devils. Sure, with seven seniors and four returning starters many expected them to do well, but probably not as well as they did. 

The Red Devils finished the season 27-4. Along the way they won the county championship, the area championship and advanced to Wallace State for the first time since 2007. 

With losing as many players as they are they’ll most likely take a step back next year. However, don’t expect it to be another 13 years before they return to Wallace. 

End of Hall of Fame duo? 

Speaking of the Red Devils, this past season might have been the last we’ve seen of their head-coaching duo. 

Hall of Fame coaches Gary Steadman and Royal Carpenter have manned the Red Devils program for the past three years as co head coaches. After their loss at Wallace, Steadman was unsure whether he would be back next year or not. On the other hand, all signs point to Carpenter stepping down meaning the Hall of Fame co head coach duo will be no more. 

Hatton boys, Lawrence County girls in good spot heading into 2020-21

Both squads came into the season with second year coaches and both showed plenty of improvement. 

Hatton got their first winning season in 10 years and return several key players, including Ridge Harrison, arguably the best player in the county. 

Lawrence County faltered some down the stretch, but still had a solid season. They also return several players next year, including one of the best girl’s players Sadie Thompson.

New season brings uncertainty for Hubbard, East Lawrence 

Both R.A. Hubbard and East Lawrence will be breaking in new coaches next season. East Lawrence’s Marrieo Davis resigned last week, while Hubbard’s Sonny Conwill is also expected to resign. 

Conwill had plenty of success, especially in recent years. Hubbard won two county titles, a regional championship and advanced to the Final Four in the past three seasons. Davis also had success, leading the Eagles to multiple regional berths, until the program was hit hard by attrition. The Eagles’ had just one player start consecutive seasons in the past three years. 

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