HAWTHORNE 56, EASTSIDE 54

Hornets win wild one against Rams


Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 12:11 a.m.

HAWTHORNE - Cornelius Ingram started Friday night with a high-flying dunk and finished with a critical bank shot.

But against visiting Eastside, the Hornets' Aaron Ellison had the showstopper.

Ellison banked in a near full-court shot to end the first half and Ingram sank the go-ahead basket with 33 seconds left as Hawthorne defeated Eastside 56-54 before a boisterous, standing-room-only crowd at Hawthorne.

Hawthorne (19-6), ranked No. 4 in 2A, avenged an early season blowout at Eastside (16-5) and remained undefeated at home this season.

Ingram led the Hornets with a game-high 22 points and scored what became the game's final basket with 33 seconds left on a turnaround bank shot in the post.

"Every time down the stretch, we're going to let Cornelius win or lose the game for us," Hawthorne coach Mike Williams said. "Everyone knows that and everyone accepts that."

Despite two turnovers in the final minute, Eastside had a chance to send the game into overtime. Taking the ball out of bounds with 7.4 seconds left, senior Kevin Higginbotham drove the length of the floor but his lay-up attempt over Ingram rimmed out as time expired.

Higginbotham had helped the Rams erase a seven-point, fourth quarter deficit as he scored seven of his 13 points in the final quarter.

"We executed that to a T," Eastside coach Pop Williams said. "We were looking for an easy two to get it into overtime, it just got deflected out."

But what may have been the difference in the game was Ellison's heave just before the halftime buzzer.

"I guess we don't win the game if he doesn't hit that," Mike Williams said. "I just wish it was to end the game."

With seconds winding down to end the half, Ellison grabbed a lose ball in the corner in front of Hawthorne's bench. From just a few feet outside the three-point line, Ellison's heave sailed through the air and fell into the basket off the backboard.

Ellison was mobbed by fans lining the wall as he tried to find his way into the Hornets' locker room.

"As soon as he let it go I said, 'That's good'," Mike Williams said.

Ellison may have stolen the limelight from Ingram, who opened the game with a thunderous, two-handed dunk in transition and hit a pair of three-pointers later in the half.

"We knew Cornelius was going to get his points," Pop Williams said. "We were just trying to stop their other players."

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