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ThePrepZone.com Sports Report with Marty Pallman on “The Tailgate” (WRUF Gainesville)

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Marty Pallman joined Jeff Cardozo & Pat Dooley on The Tailgate (WRUF-98.1 FM & 850 AM) on Thursday, January 23, for ThePrepZone.com Sports Report presented by SunState Federal Credit Union. Here is a recap of the interview:

Basketball

The Hawthorne boys basketball team will play for its first boys state basketball title since 1987 tomorrow night at 7 in Lakeland against Hilliard in the 1A state championship game. The Hornets got past Paxton 70-58 on Wednesday in a 1A state semifinal game led by Torey Buie’s season-high 32 points and five rebounds, while Donovan Wright added seven points and 14 boards for Hawthorne.

The Hornets are 24-3 and next face 23-3 Hilliard for the 1A state championship. Hilliard beat Vernon 80-59 in the other 1A semifinal. Hawthorne jumped out to a six point first quarter lead and never trailed in leading 24-12 at the half as Buie led the way with 13 points.

Coach Greg Bowie’s team is back in the state championship game for the first time since 2015 and will look to win against a team in Hilliard that was once a district rival but moved out of the Hornets district this season. The Hawthorne boys look to repeat what the girls just did in Lakeland a week ago.

Speaking of Hawthorne girls…the Lady Hornets girls basketball team are the 1A state champions for 2019-20 after nipping Port St. Joe 33-32 last Friday in Lakeland. Senior Antania Mason led Hawthorne with 12 points and got a key tie-up with five seconds left as Hawthorne held on for the first girls basketball state title in school history. Hawthorne led by one point at the half and by two going into the fourth quarter in finishing the season at 29-2.

Coach Cornelius Ingram’s team had advanced by rallying past the top-ranked team in the state, Holmes County, 50-48 in the state semifinal game two days earlier. Holmes County had knocked Hawthorne out in the semifinal round in Lakeland last year. So Hawthorne is one game away from a historic double for girls and boys basketball. They would be the ninth school to win both boys and girls basketball titles in the same year, the last being Wildwood in 2018.

The Columbia boys basketball team is in the final four for the first time in 52 years.  The Tigers play Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale) tonight at 6 p.m. in Lakeland in their first state semifinal game since 1968.

Columbia advanced to Lakeland by holding off Mainland (Daytona Beach), 70-65, in the Region 1-6A final in Lake City last Friday night. The Tigers saw a 13 point third quarter lead dwindle down to 1 with 1:40 left but were able to hold on from there before a sold-out crowd at home to advance to the Final Four. Senior Kenny Gaines scored 30 points for Columbia, with 24 of those coming in the second half.

Columbia won their three regional games against Chiles (Tallahassee), Lincoln (Tallahassee), and Mainland by a combined eight points, but they will take it. Seven players score at least seven points a game for Columbia, led by Gaines at 11 points a game.

Coach Steve Faulkner is leading his second team to Lakeland, as he previously led Williston to the Final Four.  Columbia faces a powerhouse in Dillard, which has seven state titles, including back-to-back championships in 2015-16. Dillard defeated the top-ranked team in 6A, Mater Academy, to advance back to the state semifinals in Lakeland.

Baseball

Just two weeks into the high school baseball season and Buchholz (Gainesville) is 3-2 after routing Bradford (Starke) 16-3 last night. The Bobcats travel to unbeaten North Marion (Citra) tomorrow night for a rematch of their opening game on February 22. The Colts beat Buchholz 15-7 that night and are 4-0 to start the season a 6-0 win at Belleview on Tuesday. North Marion hosts West Port (Ocala) tonight.

Gainesville is struggling a bit at 2-4, dropping two one-run games this week, 6-5 to Vanguard (Ocala) on Tuesday and 4-3 to Forest (Ocala) on Monday. The Hurricanes are back in action at Belleview tomorrow night.

Finally we have to mention the Blue Wave, who won at West Port 5-1 on Tuesday for their fourth win in a row after an opening nine inning loss to Interlachen and weather permitting P.K. Yonge is at Oak Hall (Gainesville) this afternoon.

**Tune in to our weekly radio interviews talking high school sports on ThePrepZone.com Sports Report presented by SunState Federal Credit Union on WRUF-98.1 FM & 850 AM in Gainesville every Thursday at 4 p.m. on “The Tailgate” with Jeff Cardozo & Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley.**

Find out what’s going on daily in high school sports with ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union. The 1-minute high school sports vignette is produced by Mike Ridaught and airs ‘live’ every weekday morning between 7:50-7:55 a.m. on “106.9 (FM) I am Country” in Gainesville.  The reports are archived for 30 days here.

If you live in the Tri-County area (Gilchrist, Levy & Dixie County), tune in to ThePrepZone.com Nature Coast Sports Report presented by SunState Federal Credit Union on Country Legends Radio. The 2-minute high school sports vignette is produced by Ridaught and airs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:28 a.m. and repeating at 5:28 p.m. on 93.1 FM & 940 AM in Chiefland/Trenton & 96.3 FM & 1240 AM in Cross CityListen Live Here.

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