Tired Hornets too much for Rams

Hawthorne's Marcus Baker, who scored 18 points and added 5 rebounds, rushes past an Eastside player during their game Saturday.

ARIANE WILTSE/Special to The Sun
Published: Sunday, February 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 1, 2004 at 1:04 a.m.

Hawthorne coach Mike Williams said his team is tired.

Friday night the Hornets won an emotional district game at P.K. Yonge and had to suit up again Saturday night with rival Eastside.

Hawthorne did show signs of fatigue as its full-court pressure defense was not as effective as normal, and Eastside managed to make a late run. Regardless, the Hornets were able to come away with their second road win in as many nights, edging the Rams, 56-51.

"They just fought to win this game. I know we had a tough game last (Friday) night against P.K. (Yonge), then they had to play a lot of minutes tonight. We like to press a lot, tonight we just didn't have it," said Williams, whose team beat the Rams twice in a season for the first time in five years.

"These guys really wanted this win. Right down the road is a rival for us," Williams said. "When it is a rival like that, they are going to get up and play like they did tonight. We did a good job to come back and win this ballgame."

Cornelius Ingram, who is still undecided regarding scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State and South Florida, paced the Hornets (16-4) with 24 points, 17 of which came in the second half.

Unlike Friday night, when Hawthorne enjoyed a sizeable lead at one point, the Hornets found themselves trailing for most of the first half.

Marcus Baker, who finished with 18 points and five rebounds, hit a pair from the foul line in the closing seconds to give Hawthorne a 27-26 advantage at halftime.

Corey Mikel opened the second half with a three-pointer from the right wing to put the Rams (14-5) on top 29-27.

That would be Eastside's last lead of the night as Ingram netted seven points during a 12-0 run which gave Hawthorne (Class 2A's third-ranked team) a 39-29 lead with 5:02 left in the third quarter.

But the Hornets were unable to pull away as Eastside went on a crucial 7-0 spurt to pull within 46-45 with 3:02 remaining.

Ingram responded like the highly recruited athlete he is, hitting a layup and sinking a leaner in the lane to give his team a five-point cushion with 1:39 to go.

Baker sunk two more from the line to give Hawthorne a 54-47 lead with under a minute to go to help seal the win.

Baker, who is still anticipating a football scholarship offer from Florida, shot 4-of-6 from the foul line, while Ingram was only 3-of-9 on free throws.

Tim Shankle led Eastside with 18 points and six rebounds, while Mikel followed with 14 points in the loss.

"I was real happy," Williams said. "It is good to be exhausted when you have got two wins on your belt instead of two losses, which could have easily been that way the last two games we have played."

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