Ingram, Hornets win big

Hawthorne avenges last year's regional final loss to P.K. Yonge.


Published: Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 12:43 a.m.

Cornelius Ingram will spend the entire weekend with a team based in Gainesville on his mind. But Friday night, his thoughts were of another Gainesville team.

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Hawthorne's Aaron Ellison finger rolls a shot over P.K. Yonge's Codeye Woody on Friday night.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun

One day before his official recruiting visit to the University of Florida, Ingram led Hawthorne into an important district boys basketball game with visiting P.K. Yonge. And with the memory of the Hornets' almost 11-month-old Class 2A regional final loss to the Blue Wave still painfully fresh, Ingram scored 30 points to lead Hawthorne to a 75-66

victory.

"Most rivalry games we play, people look for us to win in a blowout," said Ingram, a 6-foot-5 guard who also is a major college quarterback prospect. "Every time anybody steps in this gym, this is like their state championship.

"But whenever we play P.K., we know even if they are in an off-year, it's going to be tough. And after what happened last season, we have extra motivation."

That's why Hornets coach Mike Williams said there was no need for a pregame pep talk.

"I didn't say a word in the locker room, and neither did any of the players," Williams said. "I'm pretty sure (Blue Wave coach) Mark (Griseck) probably didn't have to say anything either."

And Hawthorne came out hot, busting out to a 22-8 lead on the strength of three three-pointers by Ingram.

"We like to start out fast and get our sixth man (the crowd) involved," said senior guard Rashaad Jackson, who finished with 20 points and a game-high eight rebounds. "When the sixth man gets excited, we get even more excited."

But P.K. Yonge (5-6, 1-2) kept composed and began feeding sturdy 6-5 center Alex Huggins in the post. The result was a 22-5 run that was fueled by 14 of Huggins' career-high 26 points.

A three-pointer by Rodrick Browning ended the Blue Wave surge and helped the Hornets take a 39-32 lead into the half, and P.K. Yonge would get no closer than within four points the rest of the way.

"I'm very happy with my team's effort, especially since we've had to deal with serious injuries (Max Hoggard's broken hip and Willie Powers' broken thumb) and illness (a flu sidelined many of the players recently)," Griseck said. "The guys battled, though, and hung in with the No. 1 team in the state."

Technically, Hawthorne is ranked second with a 9-3 (3-0 district) record.

However, two asterisks can be attached.

First, top-ranked Jacksonville Arlington Country Day is banned from participating in the playoffs, so it has no shot at a state championship. And second, one of the Hornets' losses came in December to South Miami, which two weeks ago had 6-10 center Abdul Herrera declared ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association.

But none of those things matter much to focused Hawthorne.

"We've come close, losing in the regional final three years in a row," Jackson said. "We think about it a lot and don't want that to happen again, so we go out and try to get better every game.

"We have something to prove."

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