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Hartness earns SWTR player of the year award

By Richard White

 

While Greenwood’s Megan Hartness has traded in her basketball sneakers for soccer cleats this spring, her accomplishments on the hard court are still drawing significant attention. Earlier this week the Southwest Times Record newspaper of Fort Smith named Hartness as its “Player of the Year” after she led the Lady Bulldogs to their second straight 6A state title.

Greenwood senior guard Megan Hartness (32) was recently named as the Player of the Year by the Southwest Times Record newspaper in Fort Smith. Hartness led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring this past season, including a team-high 20 points in the 6A state championship game won by Greenwood over Siloam Springs. (Photo by Richard White, courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

Greenwood senior guard Megan Hartness (32) was recently named as the Player of the Year by the Southwest Times Record newspaper in Fort Smith. Hartness led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring this past season, including a team-high 20 points in the 6A state championship game won by Greenwood over Siloam Springs. (Photo by Richard White, courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

In fact, because she played on the varsity squad as a freshman, Hartness has actually been a part of three state title winners. During her four-year GHS career, Hartness and her Lady Bulldogs’ teammates were 100-21 overall, with state championships in 2012, 2014 and 2015. She has been named Most Valuable Player in both 6A state title games the past two seasons.

From her perspective, it’s not been the individual achievements that make her the most proud. “It’s just winning the three state championships,” said Hartness, who will continue her outstanding basketball career on the college level at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

As might be expected, Lady Bulldogs’ Head Coach Clay Reeves is very high on his senior star player. “That’s a tremendous career,” said Reeves. “[Megan] played for us from ninth grade through 12th grade. She had special years all four years. She won three state championships, and most people only get a shot at three, max. She won three.”

Hartness led the GHS girls to the outright 7A/6A-Central conference title earlier this year, including a pair of signature wins against Class 7A runner-up Conway, and a 29-2 overall record. In Greenwood’s 39-31 win over Siloam Springs in the 6A championship game last month, Hartness scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds. In last year’s 64-49 title win over Little Rock Parkview she scored 27 points and nabbed 11 rebounds.

“Some of [the] highest scoring games of her career were in the state finals,” said Reeves. “When it was a big game, she was always ready to play.” The Lady Bulldogs went 13-1 in state tournament play over her four years in the program. “That’s pretty hard to do,” said the coach. “Most kids only get a chance at 12 wins. With her playing ninth grade, that worked out pretty good.”

During this past regular season, Hartness hit the game-winning free throws against conference rival and defending 7A state champion Conway, scoring 24 points in the 64-63 home victory. In the subsequent rematch on the road at Conway, she scored 30 points in the 67-64 GHS win. She also reached 30 points in November win over Fayetteville, which went on to take the 7A state title last month.

Hartness averaged 13 points per game in conference play during her four-year GHS career, 14.4 points in non-conference play, and 16.4 points per state tournament game, including just over 22 points per game in seven post-season games over the last two years.

This past season, Hartness scored 670 points for a 21.6 per game average. She grabbed 113 rebounds or 3.6 boards per game, doled out 88 assists or 2.8 per game, and had 81 steals or 2.6 per game. She led the 7A/6A Central in scoring with 287 points and finished her career with 1,692 points, second only to Lundon Williams in school history, and had 575 career rebounds.

Hartness said that she really started understanding the game offensively, “probably the second half of my junior year through my senior year.” Adding, “I started to understand my role more and what it took for us to get where we wanted to be as a team.”

 

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