Hornets' Lewis has answer

Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 12:52 a.m.

He had 27 points and the ball. And everyone in the P.K. Yonge gym knew he was going to take the shot.

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P.K. Yonge's Willie Powers looks to pass the ball as Hawthorne's Aaron Ellison defends on Friday.

CHRISTINA STUART/The Gainesville Sun

With less than 10 seconds left in a tie game, Cornelius Ingram took two dribbles toward the basket and then spun into the crowded lane. Suddenly, the double team he was facing picked up a third with a fourth looking like he might be on the way.

So Ingram passed the ball to Tabaree Lewis at the top right of the three-point line, and the reserve guard calmly sunk a 21-footer with two seconds remaining to give the Hawthorne Hornets a 74-71 victory.

"We talked about it (during a time-out with 17 seconds on the clock)," Blue Wave coach Mark Griseck said. "I thought for sure (Ingram) was going to put it up. But give him credit, he found the open man, and give (Lewis) credit, he put it through."

Also worthy of credit is Hawthorne coach Mike Williams, who supplemented Ingram on the final play with four shooters, spread around the arc, all ready to take the game-winner.

"We're really deep, and we have a bunch of guys we are confident can make a basket when we need it," Williams said. "But it shouldn't have come to that."

Indeed, the Hornets (15-4 and ranked second in Class 2A) behind the play of Ingram (who also had 11 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals), Marcus Baker (18 points, three rebounds) and Rashaad Jackson (13 points, two assists) had a 46-27 lead just before halftime.

But P.K. Yonge (9-8) went on a 25-0 run that overlapped the second and third quarters to take a 52-46 advantage with just around two minutes remaining in the third.

Spurring on the Blue Wave was 6-5 center Alex Huggins (20 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks), guard Chauncey Lampkin (22 points, five steals, five assists, three rebounds) and forward Eric Rutledge (16 points, two steals), and it appeared P.K. Yonge might ride its momentum to a win.

However, Hawthorne clawed back, and in the final 5:02 got 5-of-5 foul shooting from Baker, four points from Ingram, a three from Rodrick Browning, a key steal from Terry Rivers and the game-winning shot from Lewis.

"It was a really intense game," Baker said. "We didn't blow them out like we thought we would, but we hit our free throws and made some plays down the stretch."

Ingram, Baker and Rutledge are all Division I football recruits, and six South Florida coaches were on hand to watch the 6-5 Ingram, who also will play basketball in college and has narrowed his choices of schools to USF, Florida and Florida State. A quarterback, he remains torn about his decision and may wait until after Wednesday's National Signing Day to ink with anyone, according to his brother Greg Bowie and Hornets football coach James Haynes.

Baker is waiting on a scholarship offer from UF, which hadn't come as of Friday night. But the 6-1 wide receiver said Gator assistant Dwayne Dixon has called every day, giving Baker hope the offer will come soon.

Rutledge, a 6-1, 235-pound linebacker/running back, is visiting UF this weekend. He has an offer from the Gators and could commit to Florida or East Carolina sometime in the next couple of days.

John Patton is The Sun's high school sports editor. You can reach him by calling 374-5074 or by e-mail at pattonj@gvillesun.com.

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