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Fort Smith
Monday, April 15, 2024

Hackett Sr Hornets Take Their Final Bow

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Pictured is #31 Ethan Slavens and #23 Austin Cowell

As the famous saying goes, “All good things must come to an end”. And for the Hackett Sr Hornets basketball season, the curtain has dropped. The Sr Hornets endured a plethora of highs and lows this year but in true fashion, they always seemed to rise to the occasion. “This year has been full of challenges,” explained Coach Kent Elmore. “We had a total of 5 practices where my whole squad was there. However, my guys always showed up and got to work.” After finishing conference play with a 4-10 record, Hackett snagged the #7 seed in the 3A-4 District Tournament. For Round 1, the Hornets were tasked with taking on the #6 seeded Cossatot Eagles. And in an almost complete blowout, Hackett walked away with a 52-19 win and they were off to Round 2!

#00 Cash Oliver

But in the midst of celebrating, a bad news bomb was dropped right on their heads. Due to the state experiencing a week of Snowmageddon 2021 during the exact same week as Districts, a conference vote decided to cancel the tournament and allow the top four seeds to advance on to Regionals. As hearts were broken and dreams were crushed, many were left saying “This is not how the season is supposed to end!” That was on February 17. Just as gyms were closing shop and players were hanging up their gear, Christmas done come early! On February 19 it was announced that all tournaments would be pushed back a week and it was Game On! as Districts continued full steam ahead.

#5 Jake Fisher and #3 Cole Ketchum

The Hornets dived headfirst into Round 2 as they landed in Tiger country taking on #3 seeded Charleston. In their two previous conference games, it was a hard-core fight to the finish. The first game ended with Hackett taking the 41-36 win but in their next go-round, Charleston returned the favor taking the victory 65-53. Fans from both towns packed into the gym (safely and at a 6-foot distance of course) for what was sure to be nothing less than a thrilling head-to-head. The first quarter ended with a score of 13-11 Charleston. But Hackett stayed stuck to the Tigers more firmly than a Lee Press On Nail as they matched Charleston point for point. The Hornets went into halftime down 23-16 but not out.

Senior, Jaren Johnson and Coach Elmore

The third quarter fared the same way as the first half with Hackett being only a few points behind Charleston but as the end drew near, the Tigers managed to keep their lead and seal their spot in the next round with a final score of 53-45 Charleston. “The Hornets dropped a tough one last night. We were in the game all night and could not get timely shots to fall. Was glad we were able to get beat on the court and have a shot though!” Leading the Hornets Hive with two’s as far as the eye could see, was Ethan Slavens with 12 points. Following with 9 points each were the Three’s King’s, Cole Ketchum, and Jake Fisher along with Fischer Shipman with 6. Cash Oliver earned 7 points by honing in on his hoop vision. And rounding out with 2 points was hardwood hit-man, Austin Cowell.

Senior, Fischer Shipman and Coach Elmore

“I am proud of our team. Covid, injuries, and other circumstances did not deter us from our work ethic. I am looking forward to the promising future of Hornet basketball and am ready to get to work immediately.” The Hackett Hornets will be bidding adieu to seniors, Fischer Shipman, Jaren Johnson, Ty Smith, and Aidan Nobles. “This year, senior, Fischer Shipman, did a great job of coming into our locker room and being a leader. I look for a couple of guys to take the leadership role next season and really expand on its meaning. I want someone to take over the locker room and create an atmosphere that transfers over to the court.” Coach Elmore will be returning four starters next season, many key bench players, and a very athletic 9th-grade group coming up. 

Senior, Aidan Nobles and Coach Elmore

Cash Oliver finished the season averaging 17.9 points. Fischer Shipman led the team with an average of 2.3 deflections a game. Jake Fisher led the team on both offensive and defensive rebounds with an average of 6.7 rebounds a game. And Ty Smith led the Hornets with 17 total charges taken. “I’m excited because since being hired, this will be the first time that our basketball team will get to go through an off-season together. I believe that in the off-season, the guys will start to progress and become better basketball players in ways they never thought they could!”

Senior, Ty Smith and Coach Elmore

Game photos courtesy of Ronni Tate Young and senior photos courtesy of Mandy Foster

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