Hatton's strong season ends in area tournament

Ridge Harrison drives around a defender

Hatton's remarkable turnaround season came to a premature end Thursday night when the Hornets were stunned by Sheffield in the first round of the area tournament. 

Hatton had defeated the Bulldogs in both meetings of the regular season, but as it usually does high school basketball, crazy things happen a lot. 

The Bulldogs flipped the script from the regular season, creating a small cushion by halftime and exploding in the second half to win comfortably. 

To put it plainly, it just wasn't Hatton's night. 

"That's just the game of basketball and the way it goes sometimes," said Hatton head coach Tanner Tesney. "They had a lot of guys score points that aren't main contributors. They hit two buzzer beater shots, one I'm not even sure the kid was looking at the goal. But that's what you face in the area tournament and that's why there are so many upsets all the time. They made shots that mattered and we missed too many easy ones so hats off to them." 

The game was neck and neck until the end of the first half, when Sheffield took of advantage of Hatton foul trouble to dominate the boards and turn missed shots into second chance points. The result was a 13 point cushion at the break. 

It was all downhill from there. 

The Bulldogs came out on fire in the second half and managed to cruise to a 81-47 victory. It was just a prime example of how hard it can be to defeat a team three times in a season. 

"It is. When you beat a team two times already and then you come in on a neutral court, it's tough," Tesney said. "I don't care who you're playing, beating someone three times is hard. Unfortunately it just wasn't our night." 

The loss brought to an end what has been a turnaround season for the Hornets, who finished 15-13. It's their first winning season in 10 years. 

"That's big for just building our program and getting back to where it used to be," said Tesney said. "I told the seniors that tonight might not have went how we wanted, but that they needed to hang their heads high. This is the first winning season this program has seen in 10 years and that's something to really be proud of." 

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