The Hatton Hornets entered this season poised for a successful campaign under coach Chasta Chamness after making it to the Northwest Regional semifinals last season.
The Hornets suffered an early setback, losing junior Josie Harville to a season-ending injury in the first game of the season. Harville led the Hornets with 14.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game her sophomore year.
Instead of falling apart, Hatton rallied and cracked the top 10 in Class 2A. The team won the Class 2A, Area 16 title and made it back to Wallace State for the Northwest Regional. Hatton then won its Northwest Regional semifinal game to make it to the regional final. The Hornets came up just short to state runner-up Cold Springs, losing by three.
Chamness put a belief in her team early in the year that they could be one of the best in the state despite Harville’s injury.
Chamness has been selected as the Daily’s girls Class 1A-4A Coach of the Year.
“I think people had high expectations for us until Josie got hurt,” Chamness said. “I wasn’t going to give up on our girls. They weren’t going to give up on each other. They were determined to do something great this year.”
Chamness had several girls step up with Harville out. Kailyn Quails, a freshman, helped take over some of the scoring responsibilities. Juniors Kamie Kirk and Mallory Lane also were key figures.
Hatton’s most impressive regular-season stretch came in January. It won 11 regular-season games in a row after a Jan. 4 loss to Cullman at Wallace State to reach 24 wins. It added on to that streak with four wins in the postseason.
Chamness said the loss to Cullman helped her team become a threat in Class 2A. Hatton finished with a 28-6 record.
“That was the one game where our effort wasn’t there,” Chamness said. “The girls just decided that they didn’t want to play like that. They didn’t want that to be how our season was. I really feel like that loss was a turning point.”