The high school basketball season officially came to an end three weeks ago for the area.
Technically four, since the girls state tournament concluded in late February.
But it ended for both girls and boys when the Williston boys basketball team defeated Chipley on Friday, March 3, to win its first state title in program history.
It was a great year overall with two state champions (Hawthorne girls and Williston boys), and the Hawthorne boys' state semifinal appearance. Plus, the P.K. Yonge girls finished one game shy of a final four appearance along with the GHS, Columbia (Lake City) and Santa Fe (Alachua) boys.
With success comes rewards, which is why high school basketball continues to be in the news even 3-4 weeks after the season has concluded.
The classification finalists for the Mr. Basketball and Coach of the Year awards were announced today.
The Florida Dairy Farmers recognized Hawthorne's C.J. Ingram as the Class 1A Player of the Year, while Red Devils’ coach Jim Ervin was named the 1A Coach of the Year.
Greg Maxwell, who led Williston with a game-high 22 points in the Class 1A state championship game against Chipley, finished runner-up for 1A Player of the Year.
Next Wednesday, March 29, from 7-8 p.m. the state champion Red Devils will be our guests on “The Prep Zone” sports show, which airs on 106.9 FM “I am Country” each week from Sonic Drive-In of Gainesville.
The Hawthorne girls basketball team were our guests on “The Prep Zone” sports show this past Wednesday night to celebrate their state title.
Hawthorne (15-5) defeated Wildwood (24-2), 42-38, on Friday, Feb. 24, to win the Class 1A state title.
“It was definitely a special season, even with it being a shorter season than normal, but our girls understood the assignment and they played incredible all year,” said head coach Cornelius Ingram, who was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Coach of the Year last week. “I felt like we started playing our best basketball at the end of the season when it counted most and as a result, we came out as champions so I’m definitely proud of these girls and they definitely deserve it.”
A couple of his best players, senior Jaz’lyn Jackson and sophomore De’Mya Adams, finished second and third, respectively, for the 1A Player of the Year.
Sophomore Trinidy Harris of state runner-up Wildwood finished first in the voting just ahead of Jackson, 87-73, and Adams (49). Harris averaged 22.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 4.2 steals per game for the Wildcats.
Adams scored a team-high 18 points in the state championship game against Wildwood and peaked at the end of the season.
In the region final, when Jackson went out with an ankle injury in the first half, the sophomore responded with a career-high 41 points in an 80-55 win against Newberry.
She scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter in the Class 1A state semifinals as Hawthorne knocked off defending state champion Ponce De Leon, 50-45, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
“For having a lot of talent and ability, I don’t think she knows how special she is right now,” Ingram said after the win. “She’s very young but she’s able to score anywhere on the floor and when she gets going we are a better team.”
One word came to mind this past Wednesday when asked about next season.
“Repeat,” said Adams, who noted it takes ‘hard work’ to be a state champion.
The Lady Hornets will go for their third state title in five seasons in 2023-24.
Our coverage of hoops extends at least until the month of April.
Miss Basketball will be announced on Monday, along with the state of Florida’s girls basketball COY.
The final voting for Mr. Basketball and the overall boys basketball coach of the year is next week, with the two winners being announced next Friday, March 31.
Plus, beginning on Monday, April 3, we’ll be releasing the Bosshardt Realty All Area basketball teams for the girls and boys small and big schools.
We're not done yet with our hoops coverage but that's because of the outstanding year that area players and teams had during the 2022-23 season.
Thanks for the memories and congratulations on a great year.