Thursday I was able to attend the summer basketball playdate at West Morgan where, lucky for me, several of our county teams were in action.
Hatton’s boys and girls, R.A. Hubbard boys and Lawrence County girls were all in attendance. I saw Hatton’s girls take on Clements, Hatton’s boys play West Morgan, Hubbard’s boys play Deshler and Lawrence County take on Danville and Good Hope, giving me my first look at what the 2019-20 season will hold for which.
Here are my top takeaways from the day:
Hatton’s girls will be a top team in 2A this year
We already knew this coming in. The Lady Hornets had a successful season last year, going 23-8 and making it all the way to Wallace. They return every starter from last year’s team and all but one player.
The biggest difference this year will be the addition of Kamden Kirk, who transferred back to Hatton, where she’s originally from Lexington.
Hatton lost to Cold Springs, the eventual state champion, last year at Wallace and one of the biggest reasons why was the Eagles’ big post player Elizabeth.
A solid post player was really all the Hornets were missing last year and Kirk gives them just that. And she’s not just a tall girl for Hatton to stick in the post either, she’s a tall girl that can play.
Kirk was active in the post on both sides of the court, helping Hatton roll Clements 41-18.
Hubbard’s boys will be a tough team to play come area tournament time
Hubbard is in an odd spot.
After making the Final Four two seasons ago, and returning four of five starters, expectations were sky high.
Unfortunately, even though they repeated as county champions, the season did not go as planned. Tyson Garth was lost to an injury just prior to the area tournament and the Chiefs went on to lose in the first round of the area tournament. A very shocking upset.
So, now the Chiefs come into this season, having to replace four starters, and also having to erase that disappointment.
The good news is that shouldn’t be a problem.
Yes, the Chiefs are young, but Thursday they looked every bit as capable of handling a team like Deshler, which will be as tough as almost any team they’ll see in 1A.
The starters went blow for blow with the Tigers. The backups (head coach Sonny Conwill brought 14 players with him) took their lumps but showed a lot of improvement from the first half to the second half.
With such a young team, the season may start slow, but come postseason they should be hitting their stride. After all, in basketball the regular season is just practice for the postseason anyways.
Depth could be an issue for Hatton’s boys this year
Hatton took on West Morgan Thursday and after a rough start, came back to make it a game.
The problem came towards the end when West Morgan won the battle of attrition and began to run away with the game.
Hatton brought just six players to the playdate, and even though they were missing Cade Smith, an important player, that still gives them only seven.
Head coach Tanner Tesney did some good things in his first season, earning wins over East Lawrence and coming within a point of knocking off Lawrence County and advancing to the county finals.
However, the transfers of Slade and Canon Berryman and the loss of Gage Saint has left a void in the roster.
This isn’t a doom and gloom write up. Hatton still has arguably the best player in the county in Ridge Harrison, as well as other talented players.
But those players better prepare to play a lot of minutes this season.
Sadie Thompson is still Sadie Thompson
Second year coach K.C. Orr has a good situation on his hands at Lawrence County. After playing a ton of freshmen and sophomores last year (literally a ton) he now has a roster filled with experience players.
He also has Chloe Orr back, a talented player who missed the entirety of last season.
Still, Sadie Thompson is the engine that makes the train go. The soon to be junior will be entering her fourth year as a starter, and even though Thursday was a rough day for her from a shooting standpoint, she was still active all over the court.
Thompson was flying everywhere, running down players and diving for loose balls. That’s a good sign after she missed half of last season with an ankle injury and played the other half through it.
Having a healthy Thompson along with a more experienced roster could make for a great combination for the Lady Devils this season.