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Hawthorne Boys’ Basketball Beats Pahokee to Advance to Regional Finals

The Hawthorne boys’ basketball team soundly defeated Pahokee Thursday night to advance to the regional finals. The Hornets won 63-39 in what was a wire-to-wire win.

Hornets’ lock-down defense

From start to finish, the story of this game for Hawthorne was their suffocating defense. Even when the Hornets weren’t hitting shots, their lead always felt comfortable thanks to their strong play on the other end. The Hornets went up 24-14 in the mid-second quarter and never let the game get within single digits again.

Pahokee turned the ball over a whopping 19 times in the game, including 15 times in the first half. They nearly matched that total with 10 alone in the third period. It is no coincidence that the Blue Devils also only scored four points in each of the second and third quarters.

“It was more so the guys taking a challenge,” Hawthorne head coach Greg Bowie said on what his team did differently defensively. “I told them that there were certain players that when they got the ball, we were either going to try to trap them or deny them the ball. We wanted to deny 25 the ball, specifically.”

#25 for Pahokee, Jermaine Roberson was held to just 11 points on the night.

Getting quick stops was key to Hawthorne getting out on the break for easy layup opportunities.

Another slow start for the Hornets

Despite the great defensive effort, it wasn’t all pretty for Hawthorne early on, as they had another one of their traditional slow starts. They scored only 13 points in the first quarter while shooting just 25 percent (6-24) from the floor.

“We came out early and got great looks, but they were rimming out,” Bowie said. “I think the guys were a little hyped for the game, so the shots were going in and out. I think once we settled down, the shots started to go in.”

Over the final three quarters, the Hornets improved their shooting to 40 percent from the field.

Leading scorer Torey Buie played a big part in this. After shooting just 6-17 from the floor in the first half, he made five of his six second half shots to finish the game.

Standout players

Buie led all scorers with 26 points. Fellow senior Jeremiah James was right behind him with 10 points on 50 percent shooting.

Key’shaun Williams and Thurman Mills were next on the team with seven and six points, respectively. Dre Lawrence scored five points, including a big three-pointer right before halftime to put the Hornets up 31-16.

Tremon Starke (3), Deshawn Baskin (2), Carlteon Brooks (2) and Donavan Wright (2) all contributed to the scoring as well.

As the underdog, Pahokee was a feisty group that continuously tried to antagonize both the Hornets’ players and fans alike.  “We just told them you gotta look at the bigger picture. Don’t let them get under your skin, just take it,” Bowie said. “Whatever they dish out, you just have to take it and finish out the game.”

Jerome West led the Blue Devils with 13 points on the night.

On the road to Lakeland

With the win, the Hornets improved to 22-3 on the season and advanced to the regional finals, where they will face 21-7 Wildwood. Wildwood defeated Williston 94-67 to reach this round.

This will be a chance at redemption for Hawthorne as they fell in the regional finals 53-48 to Madison County last season. With a win, they will be able to continue the storybook season for the Hawthorne program and match the girls’ team that already advanced to Lakeland (Hawthorne Girls’ Basketball Advances to State Semifinals with win over Wildwood).

“We’re going to prepare like we do every week. On the defensive end, obviously we can’t give up 94 points. We’re going to try to keep them under 60,” Bowie said on how they’re going to prepare for the Wildcats. “They’ve got a variety of scorers and they want to make it an up-tempo game, so we’re going to try to slow them down a little bit.”

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