The Hawthorne Hornets boys basketball team was playing for their 12th consecutive district title on Friday night at Newberry.
And while this one may have been the toughest yet, the Hornets got it done once again.
Isaac Taplis’s fadeaway 10-foot jumper from the left baseline just beat the buzzer and visiting Hawthorne pulled out a 48-47 win at Newberry to capture the District 6-1A title.
Mason Smith hit a turnaround 15-foot jumper with 17.9 seconds left to give the Panthers a 47-46 lead.
Sophomore C.J. Ingram brought the ball down the court and missed a shot and Leland Johnson missed the putback attempt. Senior Jammel Gillins missed a third opportunity for the Hornets underneath the basket, but the ball bounced to the left of the basket and Taplis picked up the loose ball and hit the jumper before the buzzer.
“Coming in I knew they (Newberry) would play inspired,” Hawthorne coach Greg Bowie said. “I expected with them playing at home and with the tough schedule they have played that it would be a tough game.”
Early on it looked like Newberry (21-6) was going to blow out Hawthorne (9-6). The Panthers knocked down three three-pointers in the opening period and led 13-6.
Smith hit another trey as did freshman Juwan Scippio, and Newberry led by as many as 10 points in the second period before settling for a 27-17 lead at halftime.
But the game changed in the third quarter as Hawthorne (9-6) worked their way back. Taplis, who went scoreless in the first half, scored eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Hornets outscored Newberry 16-9 in the third quarter and pulled with three points at 36-33 heading into the final quarter.
“They (Newberry) had a 10-point lead at halftime,” Bowie said. “I told the guys at halftime that we had to close out on their shooters, and we had to limit them from attacking to the basket. We responded to the challenge and some shots started to go down.”
BOYS BASKETBALL – District championship game results
Gainesville 59, Buchholz 55
Columbia (Lake City) 68, Rickards (Tallahassee) 38
North Marion (Citra) 71, Santa Fe (Alachua) 69
Redeemer Christian (Ocala) 68, Oak Hall 58
P.K. Yonge 54, Interlachen 41
Williston 70, Wildwood 60
Hawthorne 48, Newberry 47