Hornets lose, but reach final

Published: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 10, 2003 at 11:58 p.m.
ALACHUA - Hawthorne coach Mike Williams said his team's goal entering the Hitchcock's Challenge was to advance to the championship game and have a chance to win it.
The Hornets will get their chance despite falling to Leesburg 76-75, after rallying from a 23-point halftime deficit in the first game of Friday's Hitchcock's Challenge doubleheader. Host Santa Fe handled Trenton in the nightcap, 85-52.
Hawthorne finished 1-1 after its first two games, as did Dixie County and Leesburg, which were also in their pool. But due to point differential the Hornets will battle Newberry in tonight's title game at 8.
From the start, it didn't appear Hawthorne (10-4) would be around for tonight's final. Leesburg (8-5) sank eight 3-pointers in the first half while Hornets' standout Cornelius Ingram spent most of the game's opening half on the bench with foul trouble.
The Yellowjackets raced to a 53-30 lead at the break, but like they did the night before in a 73-69 loss to Dixie County, they began to unravel in the second half.
Hawthorne ripped off 16 straight points in the third quarter, slicing a 57-34 deficit into a manageable 57-50 margin with 1:25 left in the quarter. Ingram, who finished with a game-high 28 points (24 in the second half), netted eight in the run to make things close entering the fourth quarter.
"I told them the game is not over," Williams said of his halftime speech. "Leesburg was not going to be as hot as they were in the first half and we will have a chance to get back in the ball game."
His team was definitely in the game and Ingram's putback pulled the Hornets even at 67-67, before Roderick Browning's 3-pointer with 3:14 to go gave Hawthorne its first lead, 70-67.
But down the stretch Leesburg was able to hold on as Travis Littles drained a 3-pointer with 29 seconds to go, which provided the final margin. The Hornets missed three foul shots in the final 47 seconds and failed to execute in crunch time.
"Down the stretch we got away from going to Cornelius," Williams said. "I think if we got the ball to Cornelius we probably win the game. But we fought hard."
Rashad Jackson followed with 12 points, Marcus Baker had 10, while David Lock came off the bench for six points and five steals in the loss. Demonic Taylor and Tony Thomas led Leesburg with 24 and 23 points respectively.
In the early game, Trenton (2-8) had another rough night as Santa Fe (6-6) hit nine 3-pointers in the win. Ryan Altenhof led the Raiders with 17 points, Melvin Patterson added 16 and Randall Walker chipped in 15 (four 3-pointers). Eric Hogan led the Tigers with 15 points.
"I think we played hard tonight," Raiders coach Scott McDaniel said. "But playing Dixie County in the third-place game will be a good test for us."

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