Lady Hornets stifle Lawrence County with strong defensive performance

Riley-Claire Grissom fights inside for a basket vs. Lawrence County 

Defense wins championships, and while any championship is still months away from being decided, it helped Hatton spoil Lawrence County's season opener Saturday night 39-26. 

Missing their star player Josie Harville, the Hornets weren't firing on all cylinders in a special weekend matchup. 

However, in the end it didn't matter as Hatton delivered a strong defensive performance, holding the Red Devils to just nine second-half points. 

"We've worked really hard on our man to man defense," said head coach Chasta Chamness. "We've still got things we can improve on, but the girls have really bought in to it and that's what they want to play. I mention switching to zone, but they don't want to. They've got a lot of girls that can shoot so we really put an emphasis on guarding that three-point line and with Kammy (Kamden Kirk) on the inside it made it easier." 

The first half was about as sluggish as it could have been. The Hornets led just 8-6 after the first quarter and the game was tied 15-15 at halftime. 

Hatton finally came alive enough in the second half with Riley-Claire Grissom leading the way with 15 points. Getting a double-digit win without Harville on the floor and in spite of Lawrence County star Sadie Thompson leading the game with 18 points was a big plus. 

"First half was sluggish. Just 15 at the half and that's not us," Chamness said. "But we came out in the second half and just played well as a team. I can't really pinpoint a single player that stood out, it was just a team effort." 

Lawrence County came out in the second half and tried to slow things down. The Lady Devils held on to the ball for almost the first two minutes of the half before making a move. 

The plan backfired as the possession ended in a turnover and the Red Devils never seemed to recover. 

Their usually strong shooters were off on the night as Chloe Orr and Savannah Williams combined for just six points. Even Thompson, despite scoring 18, missed shots that you don't normally see in what was just an all around off night for them. 

Hatton missed a lot of shots too, particularly under the basket, but to their credit made enough shots to get the win. 

"We really have to get that cleaned up," said Chamness. "It's a good team win but we have a lot of things we have to clean up and finishing around the basket is one of those." 

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