Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Santa Fe boys knock off Hawthorne 59-58, other scores from MLK Showcase

Hawthorne’s DJ Slater drives past Santa Fe’s Makhi Lewis during the MLK Showcase at Hawthorne Middle/High School January 12.

HAWTHORNE — The sound of basketball shoes squeaking filled Earl Gay High School on the Hawthorne Middle/High School campus Monday afternoon as the Hornets hosted their MLK shootout.

Bill Woods Court hosted six games played on its hardwood throughout the day, lasting more than eight hours, with three girls’ games and three boys’ games on display.

Basketball’s day was capped off by a major cross-country match between Hawthorne and Santa Fe — two programs that have appeared in the state championship for their respective classifications over the past two seasons.

And the showdown didn’t disappoint as the Raiders overtook the Hornets 59-58, improved Santa Fe to 9-6 in the season and dropped Hawthorne to 5-3.

“Going in here we knew it was going to be a dogfight,” said Santa Fe head coach Glen Banks. “You can’t come to Hawthorne with the crowd and the atmosphere … it’s like a playoff atmosphere. So to win this one, play a close game…our best player is out…so to win that without him and to put in the effort that we put in was really good.”

Tie at 11 apiece to enter the second quarter, the Hornets would go into the dressing room a point clear. Hawthorne would extend his lead to three points as the two teams entered the final quarter.

Santa Fe would surpass Hawthorne 16-12 in the fourth quarter, with junior Makhi Lewis taking the lead with five of his 11 points in the final quarter.

With starting point keeper and Raiders top scorer Junior Dontrell Jenkins unavailable, it fell to Lewis to serve as Santa Fe’s game manager Monday night.

It came down to Santa Fe junior Jamiel Watson, however, who secured the win with a trip to the free-throw line playing 2.3 seconds into the game at 58-58.

After Watson’s first free throw bounced off the back iron, the junior sunk his second shot from the charity strip to win the game. Watson ended the night as the team leader with 12 points.

The story goes on

“When you face adversity and you struggle, sometimes it works out in your favor,” Banks said. “So, every time you see that, you’re going to fight… We fought today and we won a point and I’m so happy.”

The Hornets, who ended the game with less than 10 seconds to play with two junior Jailen Ruth free throws, were led by freshman CJ Ingram, who scored 15 points. Ruth ended his night with 13 points for Hawthorne.

Other Results of the Day (Boys)

Eustis def. East side 42-39

The Eustis Panthers improved to 5-11 on the season while dropping the Rams to 3-11 after the Panthers successfully pulled a buzzer-hitting three-ball from freshman Lomar Sparrow — the rookie’s only points of the game.

Eustis was led by junior Naysean Rhome, who finished the game with 12 points.

Meanwhile, Eastside was led by junior Ben Davis, who scored 16 points.

PK Yonge defeated. Bell 71-42

The PK Yonge Blue Wave improved to 11-7 while the Bell Bulldogs fell to 11-7.

The Blue Wave’s athleticism presented problems for the Bulldogs, who were forced to rely heavily on junior Daniel Pittman’s size. Pittman led Bell’s scoring by 11 points down.

Meanwhile, the Blue Wave had three players putting up double-digit points, with newcomer Patton Pinkins leading with 17 points

Other results of the day (girls)

Eustis def. Gainesville 65-55

The Eustis Panthers improved to 9-9 year-on-year while the Hurricanes fell to 10-5.

After going into the final quarter with a narrow four-point lead, Eustis nailed three 3-point shots to further separate Gainesville and polish the ‘Canes on the stretch.

Eusti’s student Alana Seward led the Panthers with 19 points, 12 of which came in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Gainesville was led by junior Leyah Houston, who led the Hurricanes with a season-high 31 points.

St. John’s Country Day def. Buchholz 52-39

Orange Park’s St. Johns Country Day Spartans improved to 14-3 during the season while the Buchholz Bobcats fell to 6-10.

While three consecutive balls from junior von Buchholz Toni Davis and three balls from senior Emonie McCallum kept the Bobcats in play in the first quarter, St. Johns Country Day junior Taliah Scott was the deciding factor for the Spartans down the stretch.

Scott, who is ranked the ninth-best player in the 2023 draft class by ESPN and signed Arkansas, scored 30 points for the Spartans as a team leader.

Meanwhile, McCallum led the Bobcats in scoring with 13 points.

The rock def. Hawthorn 71-47

The Rock Lady Lions set a winning record, improving to 10-9 during the season while dropping the Hornets to 9-3.

A 22-point second quarter for the Lady Lions, clocked by eight points by The Rock junior Valerija Prtenjaca, helped The Rock build a 15-point lead over Hawthorne at halftime.

And despite Hawthorne’s best efforts, the Hornets never found a way to stop The Rock’s three-point shooting. The Lady Lions finished the game with 12 3-pointers.

Rock junior Roksana Sajdak led the Lady Lions with 21 points while the Hornets were put on pace by senior Saideriel Oliver, who scored 14 points.

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Santa Fe Boys’ Basketball Beats Hawthorne 59-58, Final Results from MLK Showcase

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