After a tight comeback in the second half, the Newberry Panthers fell short to the Hawthorne Hornets boys basketball team. The regional final game ended 43-41, closing out Newberry’s basketball season. They finished this year with a 22-7 record.
“Here at Newberry we want to compete for championships and put ourselves in positions to fight how we fought. I think this will be the game I remember most.” – Coach Patrick Green
On Tuesday night, Newberry faced Hawthorne once again in hopes of an upset. The stands in the gymnasium filled with a roaring crowd throughout the entire game. Newberry came out playing energetically with the support of the sold-out crowd behind them. Both teams were playing aggressive defense with multiple steals each early in the game. Hawthorne led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Coming out in the second quarter, Hawthorne quickly dominated with a fiery defense. Some of the players on Newberry began to show looks of discouragement. With no luck, Newberry called a timeout early in the quarter. Hawthorne was showing off their outside shooting skills, taking the lead. They began to stand out as the more energetic team while Newberry looked tired and out of breath. The Hornets held Newberry to six points this quarter, scoring 16 themselves.
The Newberry Panthers returned to the court with an entirely new energy. Their offense also looked to be stronger.
In the first four minutes of the game, sophomore Logan McCloud dominated as he scored six points. He charged to the basket, making a stunning lay-up. With the increasing excitement, there was a shift in the crowd as the gap in score began to close. With only 3:31 remaining in the third quarter, they brought the score to 26-24.
Around this same time, the crowd began to disagree with many of the foul calls the officiates were making. However, neither team seemed to be flustered by these calls. Senior Mason Smith hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining. The third quarter ended 34-29 Hawthorne.
As the final quarter began, Newberry’s defense didn’t give Hawthorne a chance to breathe. Newberry went back and forth on the court with multiple steals, continuously driving the ball to the basket. Hawthorne players began to get called out by the officiates for multiple fouls. Though the Panthers were 50/50 with their free throw attempts, they closed the gap bringing the score to 39-39.
In the tight final stretch, Newberry called a timeout as Hawthorne now held the lead with a 2-pointer. Logan McCloud was then fouled in the final minute; he made both free throws. The crowd was ecstatic as the score was back to a tie, 41-41.
Newberry got a hold of the ball through the final seconds but couldn’t keep it. Hawthorne’s defense made a steal, and the player comes down fouled. The stands began to fill the court with loud, rowdy cheering to distract during the free throw attempt. As Hawthorne’s player misses, every player reaches for the rebound and once again the Hornets are fouled by Newberry. Both free throw attempts were made. With only one second remaining on the shot clock, Newberry fell short. The final score was 43-41.
Newberry High falls short to Hawthorne in the Regional Finals. 43-41 @FHSAA @AlachuaSchools pic.twitter.com/JVGEBptsxv
— Hailey Hurst (@Haileyjhurst) February 22, 2023
The leading scorers were sophomore Logan McCloud with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Seniors Mike Moore and Mason Smith both had a total of 10 points.
Although Newberry’s season has come to an end, Coach Green is proud of how far his team was able to excel this year. He looks forward to the following season as his younger players continue to grow together.