Hawthorne repeats as state champs

Hawthorne won its second straight Class 1A championship after rallying from an 11-point deficit to defeating Graceville, 43-40, on Saturday.
Hawthorne won its second straight Class 1A championship after rallying from an 11-point deficit to defeating Graceville, 43-40, on Saturday.
Photo by Mike Ridaught

Hawthorne girls’ basketball coach Cornelius Ingram never sits down at the half.

On Saturday night in the locker room, down 18-9 at the break of the Class 1A state championship game against Graceville, he sat down.

Ingram tried a different approach.

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“I told the girls, ‘it’s on us. Whenever you guys wake up let me know,’” he said.

Just like they did against Wildwood in the state semifinals, they woke up.

Junior De’Mya Adams scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the second half as the Lady Hornets rallied past the Tigers, 43-40, to win their second straight state title.

Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram (left) receives the Class 1A girls basketball state championship trophy after the Hornets defeated Graceville, 43-40, on Saturday.
Photo by Mike Ridaught Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram (left) receives the Class 1A girls basketball state championship trophy after the Hornets defeated Graceville, 43-40, on Saturday.

“None of us ever flinched,” Ingram said. “There were so many missed opportunities, but it was on us.”

It was their third state title in program history, including a 1A state championship in 2020.

Adams made one of the biggest plays in the fourth quarter as she deflected a pass at midcourt and stole the ball and laid it in for a 32-31 lead with 3:40 to play in the game.

“You could feel the momentum shift in the arena,” Ingram said.

After Adams’ theft, she added a left baseline 3-pointer 30 seconds later for a 35-31 lead as part of a 6-0 run.

Hawthorne (22-3), which won its 19th straight game, never trailed again.

The Tigers did make it interesting, pulling within one, 37-36, on a basket by senior Miah Fountain (team-high 15 points) with 1:23 to play.

However, Adams scored on an and-one layup and made the free throw for a 40-36 lead with 1:11 to play.

“The first thing I told the girls, ‘you like running my blood pressure up,’ but to be resilient two nights in a row is tough to do,” Ingram said.

Junior Brianna Adams scored 13 points for Graceville, which finished 24-3.

Junior Jhalea Jackson added 13 points and 13 rebounds for Hawthorne, while senior Lakijah Brown scored nine points and added eight steals.

The Lady Hornets, who trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, forced 23 turnovers and outscored the Tigers 20-6 in points off of turnovers.

Hawthorne became the first area team to win back-to-back girls basketball state titles since Keystone Heights won the 2A state championship in 1994 and the 3A title in 1995.

The Hornets rallied from an 11-point deficit to defeat Graceville on Saturday for their second straight state championship.
Photo by Mike Ridaught The Hornets rallied from an 11-point deficit to defeat Graceville on Saturday for their second straight state championship.

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