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The A-Team: Hayes family make basketball a family affair
The Hayes family, referred to as the A-Team by most family members because of the children’s first names, have a lineage of basketball success. Daughters Anastasia, Aislynn and Alasia are all members of Division I basketball programs while youngest daughter Acacia has a number of Division I offers. (Courtesy: Arnett Hayes)

The A-Team: Hayes family make basketball a family affair

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BVM) —  If you live in the Murfreesboro, Tenn. area and love basketball, then chances are you’ve heard about the Hayes family. If not, then you haven’t been paying enough attention. The Hayes, whose children attended Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, have been a household of not just basketball players, but basketball stars.

The children are known in the household as the A-Team with four daughters Anastasia, Aislynn, Alasia and Acacia and son Arnett Jr. Each female member of the A-Team has been able to establish themselves among elite basketball players in the country, much to the joy of Riverdale and its faithful.

“I got Anastasia into basketball about sixth or seventh grade. She used to play softball,” Father Arnett Hayes said. “Around about the eighth grade she was [special], but the two young ones you could tell that they loved it and caught on to it earlier.”

The first to make the jump to this well-known stardom was eldest daughter Anastasia. When she transferred into the Warriors program during her sophomore year, Anastasia quickly rose to the top of the heap. That year, she averaged 19.4 points and 4.2 assists en route to her first Class AAA all-state honor while helping the powerhouse to a state title. The next year, Anastasia doubled up on all-state awards while she averaged 19.6 points. But she was not alone in her success this time.

The same year, younger sister Aislynn joined the Warriors team as a freshman. While not as dominating as her sister, Aislynn held her own with the Warriors, scoring 3.5 points and grabbing 2.0 rebounds over 33 games. Led by the Hayes duo, the Warriors finished the year with a 32-4 record and a Division I Class AAA state championship.

“The first state championship [for the two] was exciting for us,” Arnett said. “We’ve got a lot of special memories.”

The next season was even better for the A-Team. The Riverdale squad added one more Hayes in freshman Alasia and the team became one of the best in the entire country. Led by the trio of sisters, the Warriors were practically unstoppable.

Although all three played guard, that didn’t impact the flow of the team. Senior Anastasia led the team in scoring with 22.5 points. Sophomore Aislynn scored 7.9 points with 3.4 assists. Freshmen Alasia also contributed with 7.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. With the sisters at the helm, the Warriors cruised to an undefeated 34-0 record en route to a state championship. Anastasia was named MVP of the Class AAA state tournament in 2017 after scoring 33 points in the title game.

“Watching them all win the state championship together, that was special,” Arnett said.

It was the perfect cherry on top for Anastasia’s career with the Warriors. Anastasia earned numerous accolades during her senior season including being ranked the No. 7 overall player in the Class of 2017 by ESPN, a number of all-american honors, the Gatorade Tennessee Girls Player of the Year and the Tennessee AAA Miss Basketball. That year, she would commit to the in-state Tennessee Volunteers.

Although their top player was off to Knoxville to play collegiately, the Warriors were again able to put up another strong season the next year thanks to the efforts of junior Aislynn and sophomore Alasia. 

The team would finish the season 36-1 with another Class AAA state title. Aislynn would finish the year second on the team in scoring with 13.3 points. Aislynn would also be recognized as the District 7-AAA MVP, earn all-state honors and win MVP of the 2018 TSSAA Class 3A state tournament. Younger sister Alasia would be working right behind her sister, putting up 12.7 points a game.

For the 2018-19 season, the Warriors would again add a third Hayes sister to the mix, this time youngest sister Acacia. Although the team would go an impressive 31-2 on the year, they would not win the state title, missing out on a four-peat.

“We almost got to that fourth one,” Arnett said.

However, the Hayes would continue their dominance led by Aislynn who would again earn District 7-AAA MVP honors as well as all state honors. She would also be recognized as a 2019 McDonald’s All-American nominee after scoring 14.4 points with 4.7 rebounds 3.9 assists and 2.7 steals. As the No. 28 ranked guard in the Class of 2019, Aislynn would commit to Middle Tennessee State University following the season.

The two younger Hayes would also finish the season well. Junior Alasia averaged 13.5 points during the season on her way to Class AAA All-State honors. Freshman Acacia would also play up to the hype with 10.3 points during her first season with the Warriors.

Last season was considered the most difficult for the Warriors and Hayes on multiple fronts. First came an ACL injury for sophomore Acacia, who was expected to be one of the team’s biggest contributors on the team. Due to the injury, Acadia was limited to just eight games on the year for the team later in the season, but was still able to average 7.6 points.

“We were hurt, when she tore it I was hurt for her,” Arnett said. “I never had a daughter get injured like that and especially with the ACL. But, after a month or so, she was dedicated. She worked. As a matter of fact, that’s all she’s been doing.”

The Warriors had one of their least successful seasons in years, going 19-12 while also failing to win another state championship. While the team struggled, senior Alasia blossomed. Alasia was the clear leader of the Warriors team scoring 23.7 points with 7.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.9 steals on the season. Although she wouldn’t leave the program with a state championship her final season, Alasia would receive plenty of individual awards including being named the 2020 Tennessean girls basketball player of the year, all-state, District 7-AAA MVP and all-area player of the year.

With her success on the court, Alasia finished the year ranked No. 44 overall in the Class of 2020 by ESPN and would commit to Notre Dame.

To date, the Hayes family has continued to assert their dominance at the next level.

As a freshman at Tennessee, Anastasia played all 33 games for the Lady Vols with an average of 9.3 points and 3.5 assists. For her efforts, Anastasia would be named SEC 6th Woman of the Year. However, despite her success, Anastasia would not stay at Tennessee long, instead transferring to Middle Tennessee State where she would have to sit out a year due to eligibility restrictions before joining the Blue Raiders the same year her sister Aislynn came in as a freshman.

On the court together once again, the two sisters dominated for the Blue Raiders. Anastasia would finish the year among the top-100 in the NCAA in scoring, assists, field goals made, free throw attempts, free throws made and minutes. After the season, Anastasia would not only earn first team all-Conference USA, but also be named the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year.

Younger sister Aislynn had similar success with the Blue Raiders. Aislynn would finish near the top in the Conference USA in a number of categories including scoring, assists, assist to turnover ratio, 3-point field goals per game and minutes. With her success, Aislynn would earn C-USA all-freshman team honors while also being named the C-USA Freshman of the Year, giving the pair of sisters two of the conference’s most prestigious awards.

This season will be telling for all the daughters in the Hayes family. Older sisters Anastasia and Aislynn are expected to continue their upward momentum with the Blue Raiders, with both being tabbed for the all C-USA Preseason team and Anastasia earning C-USA Preseason co-player of the year.

“I wanted them back together,” Arnett said. “They are better together than apart. Physically, socially, mentally, they’re better together than apart.”

Alaisa is also expected to step in and help contribute to the Fighting Irish early. For her father Arnett, all the girls’ journeys have made for a great experience for both him and the entire family.

“It’s been exciting,” Arnett said. “Just a joy to watch them do this. A blessing. It’s rewarding. … We don’t win them all, but they sure put you in an opportunity to win and that’s all you can ask for.”

Acacia will have some high expectations this season as well. Now recovered from her ACL injury, many pundits around the country are expecting big things from the youngest Hayes sister. Currently ranked as the No. 13 guard in the country by ESPN, Acacia has received plenty of attention from DI programs. Among her many offers include Oregon, Duke, LSU, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and more.

“It’s like that movie, The Blind Side,” Arnett said. “It’s been like that for all four of them literally. Colleges calling all the time. All day long. Coming to your house. … They’re coming to your home and you’re going to their campus, that’s special.”

Still only a junior, the youngest Hayes sister has plenty of time to stand out of her sisters’ shadows and prove she is a top quality player all on her own. However, Arnett isn’t worried about that.

“To me, as I see it and look back on it, there was no pressure on them,” Arnett said. “The younger ones were always excited to play with their sisters and there has never been pressure. … They just go out and do what they’re supposed to do.”

While it remains to be seen how far basketball will carry the Hayes sisters, one thing is clear, basketball is in the Hayes family DNA. With three girls already in the Division I college basketball ranks and one only two years away, the Hayes sisters will likely be on the national basketball scene for some time. So if Murfreesboro residents don’t know about the Hayes family by now, they’ll know soon enough.