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Hatton's coach Tanner Tesney watches the play against Shoals Christian during high school basketball action at Shoals Christian in Florence last season. [JIM HANNON/TIMESDAILY]

turnaround for the Hatton basketball program. 

In his first season last year, new head coach Tanner Tesney guided the Hornets to a 10 win season, their first since the 2014-15 season. 

Now, in his second season, Hatton is 11-6 and looking to obtain their first winning season since 2009-10. 

“It’s definitely good for these kids to win some and start having some confidence,” Tesney said. “They hadn’t won a lot before I got here. We’ve won some of games we didn’t win last year and that has been great towards building confidence.” 

A winning record would be a big deal, as it should be, but the biggest thing for Hatton this year has come in area play. 

At the time of writing this article, which is the afternoon of January 7, Hatton is 4-1 in area play. That mark is good enough to have them tied for first place, along with Tanner, who has their one loss, and Sheffield, who Hatton upset on the road. 

This week is critical for the Hornets as they will play two key area games, first Tuesday night vs. Sheffield and then Friday night at Tanner. Winning both would most likely seal the first seed in the area, while going 1-1 would still give them a chance at it. 

That kind of high stakes basketball is something Hatton hasn’t experienced in quite some time. So, was it something that Tesney saw coming?

“You would love to say yes, because you want to believe you’ll win every game. But no I didn’t really expect to be in this spot right now,” he said. “We have three area games, so there’s a lot that can happen. We just want to take it day by day.” 

Hatton definitely hasn’t won games this season in style. Six of their 11 wins have come by 10 points or less including three of their four area wins, two of which came in overtime. 

But Tesney credits that fight as a big reason why his team is in the spot their in at this point in the season. 

“I was actually thinking about that the other day. Of the 17 games we’ve played I would say at least half have been within 5-10 points,” he said. “It’s good to see that fight from your kids. They don’t ever quit and it’s always someone new every game stepping up.” 

So Hatton turns their attention towards two big area games with a lot at stake. Hatton’s area is loaded and good seeding is going to come at a premium. 

But for Hatton to have this opportunity is a big deal, and if they can find a way to pull it off, it will be even bigger. 

“It would mean everything in the world to these kids, this school and this community,” Tesney said. “I don’t know when the last time Hatton hosted an area tournament was, but I was told maybe in the 90’s and someone else maybe 2004. I’m more concerned with making it out of the area tournament than just hosting, but there’s no denying just how special it would be.” 

(1) comment

dwnichols

Hatton last hosted the area tournament in 2004 when the Hornets were ranked #2 in the state. They won the area tournament handily and headed to NW Regionals.

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