As the basketball world readies itself for March Madness, the Februrary Frenzy of the high school game reaches its peak. Those still alive head to their state tournaments, hoping to be crowned champion.
One of those teams is the Hawthorne Hornets boy’s basketball team (28-1, 10-0). This is Hawthorne’s second straight trip to the tourney in Lakeland; they lost to Chipley in the finals last year. But Hawthorne head man Greg Bowie said this time they’ve had their eyes on Lakeland all year long.
The Hornets are coming off a dominant win over Hamilton County, in which Hawthorne got up big and never looked back. In fact, the Hornets are yet to lose to a 1A team; its only defeat coming at the hands of 7A East Ridge.
All that is in the past though as Hawthorne gets ready to face it’s toughest foe yet in Holmes County, and future Gator Chris Walker. But the Hornets have their own big man in sophomore Ed Porter, who averages a double-double at 20 points per game to go along with 10 rebounds a game. Bowie said that Porter opens up the floor for the rest of his teammates.
At the same time, Hawthorne can’t key on Chris Walker and let him have the same effect.
As for defending the phenom center himself, Bowie said it’s all about variety.
Outside of the matchup of the bigs, Bowie said his team’s greatest strength is in its depth, something Holmes County doesn’t have.
The game gets underway at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday from the Lakeland Center, following the conclusion of the game that will determine the other team in the state finals. Union County takes on West Gadsden at 10 a.m.; that team is coached by former Gator guard Andrew Moten.
Another local team playing in the state tourney (this time in 6A) is the Gainesville Purple Hurricanes. After upsetting the state’s top team in Orlando Edgewater, Gainesville takes on yet another basketball power in defending champ Miami Norland. That one tips off Thursday.