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Coach Haworth Aims to Build Basketball Powerhouse At Hoptown | Tigers

Hopkinsville

Hopkinsville High School’s boys basketball team capped off an excellent 32-3 season by capturing their regional championship, and while coach Tim Haworth is proud of his team, he’s still not satisfied.

“Obviously, we wanted to win the state championship”.

The team didn’t have its best showing at Rupp Arena, where they played tight, and were perhaps intimidated by the size of the moment, but Coach Haworth sees opportunity for improvement to grow from this loss.

“I know we played nervous, but more than anything I hope that they understand what it takes to win a state championship.  Hopefully getting that experience at the state tournament will prepare them, will motivate them in the offseason to get it done at the state.”

Despite the disappointment of that loss, the Tigers unarguably had a fantastic season.  Much of the success of the squad can be credited to the team’s hunger and focus.

“I think we wanted it,” Coach Haworth explained.   “We were tough and no matter what anybody said about us we just stayed focused on getting better each day.  We never looked ahead  we just concentrated on practice and that was it.  And then you go play the games.  I think that’s what made it a special season is that everybody bought into that concept.”

Hopkinsville, Tigers

Its this concept that Haworth hopes can lead to the continued improvement of what was a young basketball team last year and help forge the foundations of a dynasty.

“Our goal is to try to build a powerhouse here. Not just to go one year, we want to give ourselves opportunities to go every year.”

The process of creating that mentality with his players is already underway.  The bar is being raised. The level of competition that the team will be scheduled to face in the coming season will be tough.   From the coaching staff down to the players the message is clear.  The hard work has just begun.

“I told them to take two weeks off and then we’re getting back at it again,” Haworth explained.  “We’re gonna play 30 games this summer  and we’re going to play top level competition.  We’re going to go to Trinity and play, we’re going to play some of the best teams in the state this summer”.

And that level of competition will continue into next year.  Coach Haworth does not expect his team to match its 32-3 mark of this season, but he does hope to have tempered the group into an even tougher and more focused squad by the time the district, regional, and state tournaments roll around.  One thing that will be key to achieving this goal is that the Tigers find ways to learn and improve off the back of some of the losses and setbacks they are sure to suffer.  Such resiliency is a characteristic Hopkinsville demonstrated this season in their regional contest against Madisonville, but it was a characteristic that may have had its roots in an earlier game.   With a 19 point lead against Muhlenberg County, the young Tigers team lost focus and let the game slip away. Finding themselves in a similar situation in the regional championship,  leading by 17, Madisonville surged, cutting the lead to 2.  The team could have folded, but demonstrated the maturity and intensity that was missing in their game with Muhlenberg County earlier in the year.

“That loss when you look back on it,” Haworth reflected, “I think it really helped us.”

With a freshman and a sophomore starting this year and the continued development of a young team, Haworth is excited about the direction of his program and believes he is on the right track.  But coach also took a moment to make mention of the appreciation he has for the senior members of the team that he won’t be able to call on next year.

“I got great seniors, I’m gonna miss them.  They’ve given me everything, they’ve made this season special for me and my coaching staff and the other guys.  They worked extremely hard.  I want all of them to go to college,” Haworth said “and I want them to be a part of our program here in the future.”

Look for Hopkinsville to continue making strides, as coach Haworth works to create a basketball powerhouse with a simple philosophy of continual improvement through keeping his players and staff focused on what’s in front of them in the moment.

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