Williston makes waves with win


Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 12:27 a.m.

WILLISTON— In recent boys basketball seasons District 5-3A has been all about P.K. Yonge. Everyone else was just chasing Willie Powers, Myk Brown and the rest of the Blue Wave in hopes of collecting the district's second playoff spot.

Even with Powers at Georgia Southern and Brown at Virginia Commonwealth, P.K. Yonge, last year's FHSAA 3A state runner-up, remains good. But the rest of the members of 5-3A have a new sense of their place.

And Tuesday night Williston took a step towards earning the district tournament's No. 1 seed with a 59-51 victory against visiting Newberry.

"This was big," said sophomore guard Isaac Floyd, who led all scorers with 20. "A very big win."

That's because it broke a virtual three-way tie between the Red Devils, Blue Wave and Panthers atop the district, giving Williston control of its own destiny.

The Red Devils (11-4, 5-1 in 5-3A) have split their regular season series with Newberry (6-5, 3-2) and defeated visiting P.K. Yonge, 57-54, on Dec. 13.

The Blue Wave are 5-1 in district play with games at Newberry on Thursday and against the visiting Red Devils next Tuesday. The game against the Panthers likely will be much closer than the 79-20 beating the Blue Wave handed a makeshift group made up primarily of junior varsity players on Dec. 4. In that one the bulk of the varsity was still wearing cleats as members of NHS's Class 2B state runner-up football team.

"That game Thursday is now must-win for us after losing this one," said Newberry coach Chris Baker, whose team beat Williston, 61-59, on Dec. 17. "If we want to have a shot at the top seed, we have to win."

The Red Devils were able to put themselves in this position in great part because they held a 48-28 rebounding advantage on Tuesday. Particularly effective were C.J. James (15 rebounds), Deonte Welch (10 rebounds to go along with 14 points) and Kelcey Coleman (eight rebounds).

Floyd also played a well-rounded floor game, adding five rebounds, five assists and five steals to his 20 points. All but the rebound total were game bests.

First-year Williston coach David Vespignani said his team has spent a lot of time lately practicing boxing out, limiting opponents to one shot and getting out on the break.

Continued performances like the one against Newberry will be beneficial to the Red Devils' end goal.

"Winning this gives us a leg up a little bit," Vespignani said. "But we'll definitely have an idea next Tuesday where we are."

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