LAKELAND – Hawthorne may be on the verge of its second state championship.
Hawthorne held off Paxton 70-58 on Wednesday in an FHSAA Class 1A state semifinal at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
The Hornets now face Hilliard in the 1A state championship game at 7 p.m. Friday. Hilliard advanced after topping Vernon 80-59 in an earlier semifinal.
Hawthorne was led by Torey Buie with 32 points and five rebounds. Donovan Wright hauled down 14 rebounds while scoring seven points.
For Paxton, Alonzo Wright scored 19 and Conner Varnum 18.
Hawthorne took a 24-12 halftime lead after Buie scored 13 points and hauled down five rebounds in the half.
Hawthorne had jumped out to an 11-5 first quarter lead after getting nine points from Buie in the period. He was 4-of-7 from the field during the run.
Hawthorne won its lone state title in 1987.
Paxton entered the game winning 17 of its past 18 games. It has won two state championships, 1962 and 1955.
Bill Kemp can be reached at Bill.Kemp@theledger.com; follow him on Twitter @BillKempSports.