Going into the Hawthorne Hornets regional final game against the Madison County Cowboys, Hornets head coach Greg Bowie knew his team had to shoot the ball well in order to have success.
The Hornets shows that capability, led by junior guard Devin Lawrence, who had a game-high 23 points on the night. 10 of his points were scored in the most crucial quarter of play, and Hawthorne was able to survive a push from the Cowboys to take home the victory 69-53 and advance to the state tournament.
The Hornets also kept a 36-game home win streak alive, one that has extended back to 2014. With nearly three years of winning at home behind them, Hawthorne had a lot more riding on them than just advancing further in the playoffs.
Prior to the matchup, head coach Bowie also talked about fatigue and turnovers becoming a big factor to who came out on top. That proved to be a huge difference, as the Hornets were able to take as much as a 14 point lead before the Cowboys came storming back. Halfway through the third quarter, Madison County was able claw its way back to tie it at 38 apiece. The Cowboys were able to establish their rhythm and get things going consistently on offense, and at that point the momentum was swinging in the way of the away team.
An and-one opportunity for Lawrence and a few more buckets gave Hawthorne the lead 49-43 going into the final frame. From that point, the Hornets gave the home fans a dominant display, outscoring its opponent 31-15 to finish off the game.
Bowie said prior to the game that playing in the small gym that Hawthorne provides gives the players a fan experience unseen in bigger schools.
The Hornets will now move on to the Class 1A state tournament and face West Gadsden on Tuesday. The last couple times they played in the state finals, Hawthorne lost to Chipley, both in 2015 and 2012.