The local high school basketball scene is lighting up tonight. Multiple regional playoff games are taking place across the landscape and six teams are looking to advance.
Hawthorne Hornets vs. Wildwood Wildcats (7:00 p.m.): 1A Semifinals
The Hawthorne boys basketball team defeats Pahokee 63-39 to advance to the Regional Finals.
They will face 22-7 Wildwood on Tuesday.
— Mike Kennedy (@mbken84) February 21, 2020
The Hawthorne Hornets (22-3) are matched up against a tough Wildcats (21-7) team on Tuesday night. The winner of this meeting will then be tasked with facing either Paxton or Graceville in the State semifinals. Today, the Hornets hold an undefeated record on neutral sites, sitting on seven victories, while the Wildcats hold a record of 5-3.
The secret weapon for Hawthorne lies in senior guard Torey Buie’s shooting ability. He averages 18.6 points per game, rivaling Wildwood’s senior point guard, Marcus Niblack, who averages 20.4 points per game.
Eastside Rams vs. The Villages Buffalo (7:00 p.m.): 4A Regional Finals
Meanwhile, the Eastside Rams (21-7) are slated to compete against the Villages Buffalo (21-6) on Tuesday night. Overall, the Villages have a large lead in the team stat comparison. The team averages 71.8 points per game, led by point guard Ricardo Wright. The 6’4″ senior boasts an average of 20.9 points per game.
For the Rams, Korin Bradley leads the charge averaging 18.5 points per game of the team’s average at 52.7. Altogether, the Buffalos hold the defensive advantage over the Rams in steals and blocks, while also leading in assists. Tonight, Eastside will need to rally its defense in order to take a real stand, and a shot at the regional finals.
Lincoln Trojans vs. Columbia Tigers (7:00 p.m.): 6A Semifinals
To cap off Tuesday’s games, the Lincoln Trojans (23-5) take on the Columbia Tigers (26-2). Arguably the most evenly matched teams of tonight’s slate, Lincoln only lost to Columbia by four points in its last playoff meeting. On the stat line, Columbia boasts a more intimidating offense on the court, holding strong at 67 points per game, more rebounds and more assists. On the other end, Lincoln has a playoff-ready defense. For the Tigers, senior small forward Eddie Yon is attributed to almost half of his team’s total blocks at just 1.1. With 12.5 steals per game, as well as 2.4 blocks (compared to Columbia’s 2.3), the game won’t be anywhere near a blowout.