Hawthorne, Trenton girls seeking final four appearance

Tonight, the Hawthorne and Trenton girls basketball teams will play for a spot in the final four.

Hawthorne, which won 1A-District 7, is the defending 1A state champion. Last year, the Lady Hornets beat Wildwood in the region final, but that game was at home. Tonight at 7 p.m., Hawthorne must win on the road.

“It’s always a great feeling to be playing at this time of year,” said Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram, who led the Hornets to their first state title last February.

The Hornets (18-4) have won six games in a row since a 44-35 loss to Class 4A No. 4 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).

Hawthorne, which is ranked third in the state, has not lost to a 1A school all season. They are led by seniors Mya McGraw and Jayla Williams at just over 11 points per game.

Wildwood (18-3), which is ranked second in the state in 1A, is led by sophomore Kailani Lindsey and senior Ja’Keriya Thompson who are averaging 12 points per game.

The Lady Wildcats (18-3), winners of five in a row, are also undefeated against 1A competition this season.

“They score fast off of turnovers from their press, so we have to take care of the ball,” Ingram said.

It will be a match-up of three of the last four 1A state champions. Wildwood won back-to-back in 2017 and 2018

The winner will play either Trenton or Branford in next Wednesday’s Class 1A state semifinals at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

Trenton, which won Class 1A-District 6, will host Branford in its region final. Both teams received a bye in the regional semifinals due to COVID-19 related issues.

The Lady Tigers (22-4), won the state title in 2019, are led by senior Samarie McHenry, who averages a double-double and leads the teams with 15.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

This will be the fourth meeting between the Tigers and the Buccaneers, with Trenton winning the previous three match-ups, including a 51-39 win against the Bucs in the district championship game on Feb. 5.

“We are looking forward to the match up with Branford,” said Trenton coach Bryant Frye. “They are our district rival and we know that the Lady Bucs are familiar with us, as we are with them. They will come in and be ready and we have to continue to play our game and play hard.”

Frye is seeking his third final four in the seven years. Their only loss in 1A this season was to No. 2 Wildwood, who they could see again.

“I have been blessed in my seven years at Trenton and feel that if we can make it this season, that will be a huge accomplishment,” he said. “Our team should have prepared themselves for this moment with the tough schedule and at this point it will take some luck to advance and great defense.”

POSTPONED – The Buchholz girls basketball team was scheduled to host Navarre in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs tonight. However, Navarre’s county canceled school due to weather and the game has been postponed and changed to Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Buchholz is one of only two Alachua County teams remaining. The Lady Bobcats defeated Milton in last week’s regional quarterfinals for their first postseason win in eight years.

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