Hawthorne girls basketball team poses
The Hawthorne girls' basketball team poses after defeating Wildwood 47-41 in the regional finals on Feb. 18, 2020. (Michael Kennedy, ESPN Gainesville)

Local Girls Hoops Battle in Regionals

The girls FHSAA basketball championship continues to intensify. Coming up on Thursday night, another half of the remaining squads will be eliminated.

Several coaches– Cornelius Ingram of Hawthorne and Willie Power of P.K. Yonge– discussed the state of their teams. Including the Hornets and the Blue Wave, nine local teams will compete as all regional openers tip off Thursday at 7 p.m.

1A Regional Semifinals

In class 1A, regional semifinals are already here:

Class 1A- Region 3

Starting off in Region 3, No. 3 Lafayette (19-4) plays at No. 2 Fort White (17-2).

Class 1A- Region 4

Over in Region 4, several local teams fight to match up in the finals as No. 4Newberry (13-9) plays at No. 1 Wildwood (16-4).

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Trenton hosts No. 3Hawthorne (15-5).

Hawthorne head coach Ingram complimented the Tigers (17-9) as a consistently good program. The former Gator tight end highlighted Bri Becker as the Trenton MVP. According to MaxPreps, she averages 11.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a game.

Ingram, said his Hornets are playing their best basketball of the season at this point. He said, Jazlyn Jackson, who he sees as the Hornets’ all-around best player, has been cleared to play as of this Thursday after getting hurt at the end of the regular season.

The Hornets won the 1A state championship in 2020 and finished as runner-ups in 2021. Ingram said that Hawthorne being a small town plays into the program being so dominant because the players have the time and available resources that help them fulfill their drive to attend college.

 

Challenging tough opponents means the girls get to play in front of college coaches.

Ingram said that getting to coach, whether it’s girls basketball or football, in his hometown is a blessing he enjoys every day.

2A-6A Regional Quarterfinals

The FHSAA 2A-7A classes play regional quarterfinals, with local area teams playing in four of said classes. Here, teams are seeded 1-8.

Class 2A-Region 1

In 2A, No. 6 Oak Hall (11-4) travels to Quincy, Florida to take on No. 3 Munroe (14-6).

Class 3A-Region 1

No. 5 P.K. Yonge (8-6), who was one of four teams in 3A District 2 to make the playoffs, heads to Winter Garden to battle No. 4 Foundation Academy (18-7).

Looking over his team’s season, Powers said the Blue Wave got off to a great start but experienced a setback when they had to take a three-week sabbatical. Girls continuously caught COVID-19, which meant they had to miss out on seven games.

After the time away from basketball, the girls slowly had to get back in shape. Their conditioning issues were exacerbated as the Blue Wave players felt more tired than normal as they recovered from the coronavirus. Powers acknowledged that dealing with COVID-19 issues has taken away some of the fun from coaching because he thinks the team is better than they are showing. Still, Powers said the girls are resilient.

As far as gameplay, the head coach said P.K. Yonge is a really good shooting team this year.

If they can get their shots going in on Thursday, they could be dangerous on both ends.

Class 4A-Region 1

Looking to topple top-seeded Bishop Kenny (22-4), No. 8 Keystone Heights (19-5) will travel to Jacksonville.

Class 6A-Region 1

In the Purple Palace, No. 4 Gainesville (14-7) battles No. 5 St. Augustine (21-1).

Victory Destination

All winners will play again on Tuesday, with 1A teams playing for a ticket to states in the regional finals. The other local teams, in classes, 2A-6A advance to their Tuesday regional semifinals.

About Julianna Reichenbach

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