Brown-led Williston wins District 5 title
Published: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 12:17 a.m.
FORT WHITE — In their second overtime game in two nights, Williston's players might have had tired legs for Saturday's district final, but they still towered over their opponents.
The No. 2 seed Red Devils found a team-high 23 points in the post from 6-foot-7 center Earl Brown and edged the top-seeded Indians, 66-62, in overtime to earn their second straight District 5-4A championship.
“Earl's kind of a bad matchup for people, because he's so big,” Williston coach Steve Faulkner said. “But he's also pretty quick, too. So he's just a tough kid to matchup with right now.”
Williston, which features four players 6-foot-5 or taller, built a 12-point lead in the second quarter by dominating the glass with 12 first-half offensive rebounds and 14 points from Brown.
While Fort White's tallest presence in the paint was 6-foot-2, the Indians answered with a 10-of-19 shooting performance from junior guard Melton Saunders, who finished with a game-best 24 points. Saunders helped the Indians nail back the deficit to 27-23 by halftime, before exploding for 16 of his points in the second half.
“Last time that we played them, we were able to get the ball out of Sanders' hands, and tonight they did a great job of passing the ball to him,” Faulkner said. “They made some threes, but luckily we made a little run in the fourth quarter to tie it up.”
After falling behind 57-54 with 35 seconds remaining, the Red Devils forced overtime with a 3-pointer from Brown in the right corner and just missed ending the game in regulation on a designed alley-oop as time expired.
In the extra period, Williston was finally able to contain the hot-shooting Indians, who made just 2 of 10 from the floor in the final four minutes. The Red Devils, meanwhile, scored easy lay-ins by Brown, a junior, and senior guard David Heinkel (14 points) to grab the four-point win.
“We just closed out on their shooters,” Brown said.
“We stayed with our lineup. We had a big lineup, and they had smaller lineup. So we just had to stay in front and play man.”
As district champions, Williston (21-7) will host District 6-4A runner-up Bushnell South Sumter on Thurday at 7 p.m., while Fort White will travel to Mount Dora.