East Ridge edges Hawthorne in final

19th Annual Hitchcock's Challenge

Hawthorne coach Greg Bowie said he thought Clermont East Ridge seemed to want it more on Saturday night. (Scott Wheeler/The Lakeland Ledger/ File)

Published: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 12:11 a.m.

ALACHUA — Hawthorne, the Class 1A state runner-up a year ago, entered the 19th Annual Hitchcock's Challenge this week with expectations of winning the title.


Hitchcock's Challenge

All-Tournament Team
MVP- Austin Mills, Clermont East Ridge
Josh Phillips, East Ridge
Nick Chisholm, Hawthorne
Ed Porter, Hawthorne
Dedric Ross, Buchholz
Bryan Chalifoux, Buchholz
Montrell Flagg, Santa Fe
Jake Altom, Cornerstone Academy
Sir Jackson, Eastside
Troy Freyser, Winter Garden Foundation Acad.
Joseph Cooks, Jasper Hamilton County
Naquan Stokes, North Marion
Freeman Hinson, Seminole Osceola
Jimmie Taylor III, Suwannee
Tim Sada, Ocala Trinity Catholic
Tre Wilson, Williston

Saturday's results
Game 26- Seminole Osceola def. Cornerstone Academy, 81-50
Game 27- Eastside def. Hamilton County
Game 28- Winter Garden Foundation Academy def. Newberry
Game 29- Seventh place game, Williston def. Suwannee, 64-54
Game 30- Fifth place game, North Marion def. Ocala Trinity Catholic
Game 31- Third place game, Buchholz def. Santa Fe, 65-47
Game 32- Championship game, Clermont East Ridge def. Hawthorne, 65-58

However the Hornets, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A by SourceHoops.com, came up short of achieving their goal on Saturday night.

Hawthorne suffered its first loss of the season, falling 65-58 to Clermont East Ridge in front of a packed house at Santa Fe's Raider Gym.

The Knights (10-4) rode the momentum of Austin Mills' game-winning, buzzer-beating jump shot on the opening day against Williston, to claim the crown for the four-day, 16-team event.

Mills, a Webber International signee, claimed MVP honors after netting 19 points, including four 3-pointers, in the title game. His backcourt mate Josh Phillips also dropped 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.

The duo led the way for East Ridge, which was effective in solving Hawthorne's full-court pressure.

“So far that is the best team that we have played. They are the most disciplined team,” Hawthorne coach Greg Bowie said. “They handled the press well and they executed down the stretch, and we didn't.

“I am proud of them overall. We made it a point to get to the championship and win it all. We came up short. We have to get back in the gym and keep working.”

Ed Porter, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who played at GHS last season, powered the Hornets with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Porter and Nick Chisholm were both named to the all-tournament team.

Leamon Wilson, who had 13 points, gave the Hornets (14-1) a 32-31 edge on a put-back with 2:55 left in the second quarter. But the Knights closed out the period with a 7-0 run to take a 38-32 edge into the break. Hawthorne never led the rest of the way, pulling to within 55-52 on a Porter floater with 4:50 to go. East Ridge had an answer for every Hawthorne run and closed out the final 3:33 with a 7-4 spurt.

“It bounced right for us the first night, and I think that was the momentum that we needed to get over the hump,” East Ridge coach Mike Clutter said.

“I never even saw them (Hawthorne) play, I never watched them play. We put together our game plan before the game, and the kids listened well.”

Jayquan Hamilton chipped in nine points for Hawthorne.

“I can stay tonight for the first time, the other team wanted it more than our team tonight,” Bowie said. “They didn't have their bounce in their step tonight. I am little disappointed in that.”

In the third-place game, Dedric Ross poured in a game-high 24 points and Bryan Chalifoux followed with 14 points as Buchholz used a big second half to down host Santa Fe 65-47.

Ross and Chalifoux, both all-tournament team members, powered the Bobcats (7-7), who outscored the Raiders (5-8) 47-26 in the second half.

“Our kids responded and had a great second half,” Buchholz coach Bob Horodyski said. “Today was an effort where everyone stepped up and contributed, and we haven't had that, I think that was a really good team win.”

North Marion edged Trinity Catholic to win the fifth-place game, while Williston knocked off Suwannee 64-54 in the seventh-place contest. Tre Wilson for the Red Devils, and the Bulldogs' Jimmie Taylor III, a Rider commit, each made the all-tournament team.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top