State championships highlight top coaches

Williston's Jim Ervin (left) and Hawthorne's Cornelius Ingram led their respective teams to Class 1A state championships in 2023.
Graphic by Seth Johnson/Photos by C.J. Gish
Editor’s Note
This is the fifth of five stories unveiling the 2023 Bosshardt Realty All Area Basketball Teams. Click here to read about the Small School girls team, the Big School girls team and the Small School boys team and the Big School boys team. Go to our All Area girls basketball team landing page by clicking here. Go to our All Area boys basketball team landing page by clicking here.

The girls and boys small school coaches of the year were easy selections this year.

Both head coaches won state titles.

Hawthorne’s Cornelius Ingram won a second state title in under three months. while Williston’s Jim Ervin led his boys team to its first state title in program history.

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They join big school coaches Willie Powers (P.K. Yonge girls) and Mike Barnes (Gainesville High boys) as our Bosshardt Realty Coaches of the Year.

A panel of local sportswriters and coaches chose the All Area teams and coaches from Mainstreet’s eight-county coverage area. All 44 players and coaches will receive commemorative plaques to recognize their accomplishments.

Ingram, who is the head coach of the state champion Hornets’ football team, led the Lady Hornets to the Class 1A girls basketball state title, their second in the last four seasons.

The Lady Hornets (15-5) earned it, winning a district and regional title followed by two big wins in the final four. They knocked off 2-time defending 1A state champion Ponce De Leon in the state semifinals, and then defeated top-ranked Wildwood, who eliminated them in the regional final the previous season, in the title game.

Photo by C.J. Gish Willie Powers guided P.K. Yonge to the Class 3A-Region 1-3A Final and a 16-4 record.

Ingram was an easy selection, as he was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Coach of the Year, but special recognition goes out to Dameon Hughes (Newberry), Eric Ringdahl (Oak Hall), and Lynsey Grant of Trenton.

Hughes and the Panthers (22-6) won 20 games this year for the first time since 2012, Ringdahl got the Eagles (16-8) to the Class 2A state playoffs in his final year, and Grant got the Lady Tigers (18-12) to the 1A playoffs in her first season as head coach.

Not only was it the first state title for the Williston boys basketball team, but it was also the first state title in Ervin’s 25 years.

He was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Coach of the Year, making him also an easy selection for our top boys small school coach. The Red Devils defeated top-ranked Wildwood three times this season, including in the district and regional championship games.

“To me it only happens with the kids around me,” Ervin said. “Without my kids and my coaching staff, the award is not there. To win a state title and get awards like this, I’m happy to have it, but without these kids I wouldn’t get any recognition.”

The Red Devils (25-7) played a tough schedule that included a two-game sweep of Class 6A regional finalist Gainesville.

“It was a ride that we decided midway through the summer to win a state title and we took a rough ride,” Ervin said. “We played a tough schedule, and I think to sum it up in one word it was ‘desire’ to win a state title from day one and we had goals to reach, and if you ever go in the locker room we have signs in the locker room about winning, and being great, and the greatness showed this year.”

However, special recognition goes out to Greg Bowie of Hawthorne, who led the Hornets back to the state semifinals for the second straight year following a district tile and region title. They lost a heartbreaker to Chipley in the 1A state semifinals.

A special shout out as well to Newberry’s Patrick Greene, who had his team within seconds of its first final four appearance in school history until C.J. Ingram made two free throws with one second remaining in the region final.

Eight was enough for the P.K. Yonge girls basketball team.

Despite only playing with seven to eight players, Powers got the Blue Wave within one game of the final four, garnering him our big school coach of the year.

“Thanks, what an honor,” Powers said. “Winning the district championship and making it to the Elite 8 with eight players has to be one of my fondest coaching memories. These young ladies played hard every night and never quit working hard to achieve the success they had this year. They had every opportunity to throw in the towel and make excuses for what they didn’t have and they fought to win.”

P.K. Yonge (16-4) lost at Providence (Jacksonville), 64-58, in the 3A-Region 1 Final, surpassing Powers’ expectations.

Special recognition to Jazlynd Rollins of Gainesville High, who led the Lady Hurricanes to the second round of the 6A state playoffs in her first season as head coach, and Kenyia Johnson of 3A regional quarterfinalist Bradford (Starke).

Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville’s Mike Barnes (left) coached the Hurricanes to the Region 1-6A Final and a 23-7 record.

The Gainesville boys basketball team made a run all the way to the Class 6A regional finals, and fell just one win shy of a final four berth.

Barnes and the district champion Hurricanes made their deepest run since 2018.

“I appreciate the recognition of being named big school coach of the year, but it wouldn’t be possible without having talented and hardworking players,” Barnes. “I really appreciate all of the players and parents for trusting me in leading the boys basketball program here at Gainesville High.”

GHS (23-7) only lost once (43-41 vs. 1A state champion Williston) at The Purple Palace in 2022-23 and closed the season strong with seven straight wins until a season-ending loss at eventual state runner-up Ponte Vedra in the Class 6A-Region 1 Final.

“I thought the year overall went well,” Barnes said. “I feel like we had the pieces to go further, but we just ran into a well-coached and disciplined Ponte Vedra team that shot the ball really well in the Elite 8. I really credit our players for buying in, going hard in practice each day and executing our game plan each time we stepped onto the court and faced an opponent. We will get started soon with off-season workouts and will look to try and build on our success that we had this year.”

Special recognition goes to Glen Banks, who led Santa Fe to the Class 4A Elite 8, Steve Faulkner of Columbia (Lake City), which advanced to the 5A Elite 8, and Boderick Johnson of P.K. Yonge, which won a district title but lost to a defending state champion in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

COY:  Cornelius Ingram, Hawthorne 
Honorable mentions: Dameon Hughes, Newberry; Eric Ringdahl, Oak Hall; Lynsey Grant, Trenton 

COY: Willie Powers, P.K. Yonge 
Honorable mentions: Jazlynd Rollins, GHS; Kenyia Johnson, Bradford (Starke) 

COY: Jim Ervin, Williston
Honorable mentions:
Patrick Greene, Newberry; Greg Bowie, Hawthorne

COY:  Mike Barnes, GHS
Honorable mentions: Glen Banks, Santa Fe; Steve Faulkner, Columbia; Boderick Johnson, P.K. Yonge

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