Hawthorne, P.K. Yonge girls grab top 10 finish 

Hawthorne girls basketball team defeated Wildwood, 42-38, on Friday to claim the Class 1A state championship.
The Hawthorne girls basketball team defeated Wildwood, 42-38, to claim the Class 1A state championship.
Courtesy of Hawthorne basketball

The Hawthorne girls basketball team won its second state championship in program history last week.

Head coach Cornelius Ingram and the Lady Hornets defeated Wildwood, 42-38, to win the Class 1A state title on Friday, Feb. 24.

Heading into the season, Hawthorne was in the mix, but I’m not sure anyone had them winning a state title despite the return of Mainstreet Daily News All Area guards Jaz’lyn Jackson (first team) and De’Mya Adams (second team).

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That was likely due to the way they finished the 2022 season, with a blowout loss to Wildwood in the region final.

After all, the Wildcats had their best record in program history this year and they seemed poised to win their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018 behind West Virginia signee Kari Black.

The Wildcats were also state runners-up last year.

However, Hawthorne (15-5) was battle-tested, playing games against playoff teams 2A North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville), 3A Providence (Jacksonville), 3A Trinity Catholic (Ocala), 3A Bradford (Starke), and 6A Gainesville.

And they got hot at the right time, winning their final nine games of the season, including a win against defending state champion Ponce De Leon in the state semifinals.

They may have been the No. 4 seed among the final four teams in the Class 1A state tournament at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, but they finished as the No. 4 overall team in The Prep Zone Power Poll, which ranks the top 20 teams across 26 counties.

“I just love the way my girls go about their business,” Ingram said. “I know they were ready by the way they practiced. There was a bitter taste in our mouth. They were embarrassed and we responded.”

Their title game opponent, Wildwood, dropped four spots in the final all-classification regional rankings to end the season at No. 8.

In the final rankings, which were released today, a total of four teams from the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area received recognition.

P.K. Yonge (16-4) finished in the 10th spot, giving Alachua County two teams in the top 10.

Despite playing with eight players this season, the Blue Wave made a run to the Class 3A-Region 1 Final, falling short of a state semifinal appearance with a 64-58 loss at Providence (Jacksonville).

They defeated Trinity Catholic (Ocala), 51-47, in the 3A-District 2 championship game, giving head coach Willie Powers his 19th district title.

Gainesville High (15-8) also had a top 20 finish at No. 15.

The Hurricanes (15-8)  won the 6A-District 2 title and advanced to the second round of the 6A state playoffs, before falling by two to Land O’ Lakes in the regional semifinals.

Newberry, which won 20 games for the first time since 2012, received votes in the poll.

The Panthers (22-6) lost at eventual state champion Hawthorne, 80-55, as Adams scored a career-high 41 points in the 1A regional finals, and they and also lost to the Hornets, 64-48, in the 1A-District 6 championship game.

Overall, girls basketball was pretty good in the region.

The Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) girls basketball team advanced to its fifth straight FHSAA state semifinal this year.

And although the Crusaders (30-2) made it to the Class 4A title game, a late surge by Lake Highland Prep (Orlando), the No. 3 overall team in Florida according to MaxPreps, denied Bishop Kenny of its first state title since 1992.

Bishop Kenny was outscored 28-13 in the fourth quarter and had its 27-game winning streak snapped as the Highlanders won their fourth straight state title.

However, the state runner-up finish was enough for the Crusaders to end up on top of the final all-classification regional rankings.

Bishop Kenny received six of the nine first-place votes and edged Class 5A state champion Mainland (Daytona Beach), 174-172, in total voting points to finish No. 1 in The Prep Zone Power Poll.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.


(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total voting points)

1. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (6) (30-2) – 174

2. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (5A) (3) (21-8) – 172

3. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (26-3) – 155

4. Hawthorne (1A) (15-5) – 137

5. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (23-6) – 136

6. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (22-6) – 126

7. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (22-8) – 123

8. Wildwood (1A) (24-2) – 122

9. St. John’s Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (19-6) – 118

10. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (16-4) – 95

11. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (19-10) – 88

12. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (20-7) – 75

13. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (16-9) – 72

14. Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-8) – 64

15. Gainesville (6A) (15-8) – 57

16. Ponte Vedra (6A) (15-10) – 48

17. Lake Minneola (6A) (19-6) – 31

18. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (13-6) – 24

19. West Port (Ocala) (7A) (19-7) – 15

20. Eustis (4A) (16-10) – 14

Also receiving votes: Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (18-11) – 13, Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (21-7) – 11; Newberry (1A) (22-6) – 7; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (14-10) – 6; Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (16-11) – 6; St. Augustine (5A) (18-8) – 1.

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