Hawthorne Boys’ Basketball Team Escapes P.K. Yonge with 63-62 win

It was a wild, back-and-forth game throughout this rivalry match-up between Hawthorne and P.K. Yonge boy’s basketball teams but Hornets pulled through in the end to win 63-62.

Hectic final few minutes

It looked like Hawthorne had wrapped up the win when they went up 62-56 with just under a minute to go, but fouls and missed free throws plagued them.

“I felt good about our chances pretty much the entire game,”  Hornets’ head coach Greg Bowie said.”But right there at the end with the technical situation, I was a little concerned because they got two free throws and the ball back.”

Bowie was right to be worried because P.K. Yonge scored six straight points to tie the game at 62 with 16 seconds remaining in the game. After two free throws by Christian Norman, Adrian Bloodworth split the defense for the quick tying layup.

On Hawthorne’s next possession, Torey Buie was fouled and went to the line for two. However, he split the pair, leaving the door open for the Blue Wave to steal the win. A steal and save by Jeremiah James however sealed the victory for the Hornets at the buzzer.

“That last possession was defense- I took out my bigs and went all guards, so we could apply a little bit more pressure and that’s how we were able to get that steal at the end,” Bowie said on the final play.

On the other side, P.K. Yonge was short-handed down the stretch, as the Hornets weren’t the only ones dealing with foul trouble.

“I think dribble penetration was hurting us. Allowing their players to get to the basket, being able to score or cause us to get into foul trouble,” Blue Wave head coach Boderick Johnson said. “Some of our key players weren’t able to play extended minutes and eventually fouled out there that last almost three and a half minutes of the game, so we had to rely on some other players.”

Back-and-forth affair in a raucous atmosphere

The game was back-and-forth throughout, never reaching a double digit deficit for either side. P.K. Yonge built an eight-point lead in the third quarter, but Hawthorne immediately responded with a 9-0 run to retake the lead. Besides that short stretch run, the game was always within a few points.

Being a rivalry game, the gym was packed before the JV game beforehand even reached halftime.

The already raucous building erupted after a missed dunk by P.K. Yonge’s Aaron Small.

Stars for both teams shine

The phrase “big time players make big time plays in big time games” definitely applied Thursday night for players on both squads.

Not only did Adrian Bloodworth hit the game-tying layup for P.K. Yonge, but he was also the leading scorer for the game overall. He was getting everywhere he wanted in the second half, scoring 17 of his 20 points.

Teammate Christian Norman was right behind him with 19 points; he scored 12 of those in the fourth quarter, including this clutch three-pointer.

Aaron Small and Greg Maxwell scored nine and eight points, respectively.

For Hawthorne, Jeremiah James and Torey Buie tied for the team lead with 14 each. James got the scoring started, notching eight points in the first quarter alone. Thanks to a concussion, this was Buie’s first game back in action in 10 days, and he did not let his team down, scoring nine points in the final period, including the game-deciding free throw.

Thurman Mills was the other Hornet in double figures. He did most of his damage in the third quarter when he scored eight straight points in the low post. Key’shaun Williams and Dre Lawrence were next on the team with eight and seven points, respectively.

Moving forward

After moving to 18-3 with the win, Hawthorne will have time to rest before their last regular season game on Wednesday at home against North Marion. This will give the team time to work on their free throw shooting more.

Following last week’s loss to Eastside, Bowie said that was the team’s biggest issue, and despite the win over P.K. Yonge, he’s still not happy with their efforts at the line.

“Right now I think it’s just mental. We’ve spent a whole hour on free throws the last two or three weeks at each practice,” he said. “We have to go to the line with confidence and knock them down.”

With the loss, P.K. Yonge fell to .500 on the season at 11-11. They have to turn things around quickly for their home conference game against Trinity Catholic on Saturday.

“I told the guys in the locker room that I hurt for them. I’ve been there so I understand where they’re at, but you’ve got to let it go,” Johnson said. “Tomorrow’s a new day and we’ve got a big district game coming up on Saturday potentially for first place in the district, so we’ll refocus, come in to practice tomorrow and bring the same energy.”

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