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Girls basketball team poses after win

Hawthorne Girls’ Basketball Advances to State Semifinals with win over Wildwood

In a physical battle that saw everything from bloodied noses to fan ejections, the Hawthorne girls’ basketball team outfought Wildwood. They won 47-41 in the Regional Finals to advance to the State Semifinals for the second year in a row.

Story of the game: Physicality

In a game between a 25-2 team and a 26-2 team, you knew it would be hard-fought (See: Game Preview). There were only 34 combined points scored in the second half for the two schools.

There were multiple stoppages throughout the game as players took hard falls and were slow to get up. Late in the fourth quarter, Hornets freshman guard Kentavia Hagins took a hard elbow to the face and needed two tissues to stop her bleeding nose. Despite this, she toughed it out and finished the game.

Hawthorne gave up some sizable runs late, but was able to hold on due to building a big early lead. After trailing 7-5 early in the first quarter, they finished the period on an 11-0 run and never trailed again.

“We had some big key stops early on. We knew exactly what they were going to do, but like any game, teams are going to go on a run,” Hornets head coach Cornelius Ingram said. “It’s just how you hold up against those runs, and I think we did a fairly good job. We were up by 12 going into the fourth, and we were able to sustain that lead. We gotta finish better, but whenever you can get a win in this part of the year, you take it.”

Wildwood cut the lead down to as little as three in the fourth quarter, but some clutch stops and free throws sealed the win for Hawthorne.

Key players

Junior guard Jayla Williams was the star for Hawthorne. She led all scorers with 17 points, shooting 7 of 13 from the floor, including three 3-pointers.

Senior guard Antania Mason was second on the team with eight points. She helped ice the game with three free throws down the stretch to make a 44-41 lead 47-41.

The two freshmen on the team Kentavia Hagins and Jaz’lyn Jackson were next on the team with seven and six points scored, respectively.

Leiana Buie (5), Oshiana Buie (3) and Angelina Harris (1) all also contributed to the scoring.

“I got some tough-nosed girls,” Ingram said. It’s easy to coach them because even when I coach them hard, they never take anything personal. They know it’s coming from a good place. ”

Rowdy atmosphere

The raucous home atmosphere certainly played an advantage for the Hornets. At least two fans were ejected from the game, as the crowd was into it from before the tip until after the final buzzer sounded.

The entire boys basketball team led the chants on the sideline. Even Ingram took note of it.

“We had a great crowd. I mean, as you can see, our boy’s basketball team had their own fan section and they kept us going all night,” he said.

What’s next for the Lady Hornets

After improving to 27-2 on the year with this win, the Hawthorne girls’ basketball team advances to the state semifinals in Lakeland for the second consecutive year. They will face off against Holmes County on February 26 at 2 p.m. This gives the Lady Hornets a chance at redemption as they fell to the Blue Devils 56-40 in this round last year.

“We have to make sure we’re prepared when we go to Lakeland this time because last year, I feel like we were a little shell-shocked going into the game,” Ingram said. “But we know what to expect now. We got some veteran girls who are ready to take that next step, so I’m excited.”

If the Hornets are able to defeat Holmes County, they will play in the State Championship Game on February 28.

“Our girls worked extremely hard all year, especially in the off season,” Ingram said. “I’m proud of these girls because they definitely deserve it.”

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