The Hawthorne girls basketball team brought home the state championship title in February. This was the team’s second state title in four years and Hawthorne’s fourth final four appearance.
After the successful season, Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Coach of the Year.
The Lady Hornets and coaches joined Mainstreet Sports Director Mike Ridaught, and co-host Marty Pallman, on The Prep Zone Sports Show to discuss their season.
Below are excerpts from the March 22, 2023, interview—edited for length and clarity—of The Prep Zone’s interview. You can listen to the full conservation online by going to www.mainstreetdailynews.com/prep-zone.
Q: Coach Ingram, you’ll remember that both the state championships now—including the football state championship—a long time. You’ll probably be telling your grandkids about it.
Coach Ingram: Absolutely. I’m still excited and I’m still celebrating the state football championship. I will say that this is a dream come true. Winning at the place where I grew up is something that will be talked about for a very long time. So, thanks again to my coaching staff on both sides. Like I said girls’ basketball, football, my boys’ program, our entire community who supported us and you guys you’ve been to some of our games, whether they’re home or away. We have some very faithful fans who will travel everywhere just to support us and that’s what it’s about in the small town. We take pride in it, and I love being at Hawthorne.
Q: You had to knock off the defending state champion, then you had to beat Wildwood who really handled you last year in the region final. This team definitely earned this championship.
Coach Ingram: Yeah, we did. And, you know, that’s a credit to our girls. We started the season late, like we said, but our fans kind of get caught up early in the season when they see a couple of losses. We have to tell the girls don’t get caught up in what your parents are saying. This is basketball, you prepare for the offseason for the playoffs. Like I said, when we got to the final four, we looked at it and we knew we had a chance.
Q: How difficult was it? I mean, obviously, the football team made a long run. Your head coach is also the head football coach. How difficult was it kind of pushing the season back a bit? I know there were probably times when you guys may have had to practice by yourselves. How difficult is that when football was overlapping.
Lakijah Brown (JR): It was a lot harder because other teams we played against started before us. They had more time to practice and more time to prepare. And so, us working by ourselves helped us out a lot because at least we were doing something while handling business.
Q: You know if I even go back to the game that De’Mya had when she scored 41 points, it just kind of it just kind of proved that this is not one girl team. I mean obviously you’re a double-digit scorer but De’Mya she’s one that can light it up from really anywhere on the floor. How much does it help having her on the floor with you?
Jhalea Jackson (FR): It helps a lot to know that we have a point guard that could do anything, that can score anywhere. She really does bring good energy to the team.
Q: How special did it make it to knock off the Wildcats?
Jhalea Jackson (FR): It was good because last year we just got demolished, but I feel like we got demolished because we didn’t really have all the pieces that we needed. I was still hurt. My sister got hurt when we played them there the first time. So, we didn’t have all the pieces.
We had everything we needed for the State game.
Q: What do you think was the key to beating Wildwood?
T’Myrah Carter (SO): Our communication, our defense and our offense.