The stage was set for a great matchup between the Williston Red Devils and the Dixie County Bears on Tuesday. Williston came into this one feeling good; winners of their last three, and five of their last six. On the other hand, the Bears had lost two straight, and three of their last four came into play. This includes last Thursday’s game, in which Williston beat this same Dixie County Bears team 60-42. This one was much of the same as Williston dominated their opponents in every facet of the game en route to a 70-38 victory.
High Energy Defensive First Quarter
The game started out lightning-quick with the sophomore guard, Kyler Lamb, knocking down a three on Williston’s first possession. The Red Devils were able to jump out to an early 7-0 lead after back-to-back steals from Ryan Williams and Jt Tipton. The full-court press of the Devils caused major issues for the Bears’ offense all night long, especially on their first few possessions. After Dixie County answered with a basket of their own, Lamb hit another three-pointer, extending their lead with the score 10-2.
The fast-paced action that was taking place in the first few minutes of the game was nowhere to be found towards the end of the first. No points were scored by either side for a two-minute period during this time. Both teams were playing very stout defensively. Dixie County ended this scoring drought by racking up six straight to end the quarter with Williston ahead 12-8.
Overall, the defense both teams were showing was impressive. Williston ended the quarter with a total of four steals and two blocks. They also held the Bears to just four made field goals all quarter.
— Hugh Green (@HGreen_15) January 19, 2022
Red Devils Start to Gain Momentum in Second Quarter
During the break, head coach Jim Ervin sat the Devils down and had a long meeting. Whatever he said to them lit a fire underneath every one of his players. The full-court press for Williston was doing the job again. The Bears turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions in the second. Sophomore, Javon Brown started off hot, knocking down two shots in the first couple of minutes.
After exchanging buckets, the score sat at 23-12, with the Red Devils up. With 6:15 left to play in the second quarter, Edariyon Wesley passed to a wide-open Tayelen Seabrook, who rose up to slam it home. The crowd jumped to their feet and it was hard to hear yourself think. The cheer from the fans electrified the energy in the building as the Red Devils pulled ahead by 13.
This dunk by Seabrook was part of a 17-4 run by Williston during the second. With their defense only giving up four made field goals again in the second, the Devils led 36-14 at halftime.
During the break, I asked Coach Ervin what they needed to do in the second half to maintain their lead. This was his response:
Williston Pull Away in Second Half to Win Big
The Red Devils did exactly what Coach Ervin wanted them to do at the start of the second half. They ran their plays through the point guard, Jt Tipton, to create easy buckets. Most of the time, Williston ran a 4-out. This is when four players are on the perimeter by the three-point line and one player is in the middle. Tipton ran this play to perfection many times by either passing it to Ryan Williams in the middle or looking for his own shot. The 8th-grade point guard finished with 20 points to go along with four assists.
While Jt Tipton had a heck of a performance, the real star of the game was Kyler Lamb. Lamb finished the game with 26 points on 9-16 shooting, including 4-8 from downtown. Not only did he produce on the offensive end, he played a big role in the Red Devils lockdown defensive performance as well. Lamb led the team with two blocked shots and added four steals to boot. When asked after the game how he was able to score with ease, Lamb said: “I just shot it. I had confidence in my shot. But I always looked to my team first.” He also reiterated what his coach said at the half about applying pressure by saying:
“We pushed the ball up the court instead of trying to slow it down. We beat them on the fast break.”
The Red Devils cruised to victory in the fourth quarter. This put a cap on a very successful night for Coach Ervin and crew. This Williston team plays with a lot of heart and effort, and it really showed on Tuesday night.
— Hugh Green (@HGreen_15) January 19, 2022
The Williston Red Devils will play host to the Chiefland Middle-High School Indians on Thursday. This will be a non-district matchup between one team riding a hot streak and another who is still trying to find their way.
Follow @HGreen_15 on Twitter for more.