Wakeley's layup helps Santa Fe outlast Williston

Published: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 12:37 a.m.

ALACHUA — Normally, a game this early in the regular season should not foster a playoff-type atmosphere. But with the aftermath of last year's District 5-3A semifinals still looming, in which Santa Fe lost to Williston 77-71 in overtime to end its season, there was nothing conventional about Friday's contest at Raider Gym.

The Raiders (9-4, 6-0 in District 5-3A) avenged their postseason loss on a buzzer-beating jumper by C.J. Wakeley, defeating the Red Devils 53-51 in the season's first meeting between the two schools.

Wakeley, who scored 23 points with seven assists, was able to shake Williston's double-coverage to keep his team ahead for most of the game.

“Because we had the lead most of the game, we only experienced a momentum shift when (Ashton) Lee fouled out early in the second half and when they took that late lead,” Santa Fe coach Elliot Harris said. “He's (Lee) one of our best players but we came in there wanting to get the ball to C.J. (Wakeley) as much as possible.”

The senior point guard definitely took to Harris' game plan well.

With the score knotted at 49 with only 45 seconds remaining on the clock, Wakeley dropped in a layup to put Santa Fe up 51-49.

Then, Williston senior guard, and team captain, James Monroe quickly responded with a tough layup through three Santa Fe defenders to tie it up at 51 with only 31 seconds left in the game.

Harris then held up one finger which meant one shot — one shot for Wakeley.

Wakeley broke free, drove the length of the court, and drilled an uncontested layup with one second remaining for the win.

“I felt as if I should have had more guys on him, forcing him to dish it off to someone else,” Williston coach Steve Faulkner said. “But you know what they say, hindsight is 20-20.”

Lee scored 15 points and Swandrick Miller added seven including a big 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to break a 13-13 tie.

Deterion Ross (11 points) and Monroe (10 points) set the tone for the Red Devils (7-5, 3-1).

Santa Fe and Williston were the top two seeded teams in the district last year leading up to the playoffs. But Williston was forced to forfeit several games because of an ineligible player and ended up as the last seed in the district tournament bracket. This forced the Red Devils to take on the Raiders in a semifinal matchup, which Williston won.

Williston ended up going to the state semifinals where it lost to two-time defending FHSAA Class 3A state champion Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest.

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