Williston Loses Heartbreaker to Trenton in District Boy’s Hoops Semifinal

By Hugh Green and Cherie Chick

The Williston Red Devils faced off against the Trenton Tigers in a district semifinal boy’s basketball game on Tuesday night. This is the third time the two teams played each other this season. Trenton came away with victories in the previous two contests. Williston came into this one off a first-round bye as they were the number two seed in the tournament. Trenton, the number three seed, defeated Cedar Key 54-38 in the first round to advance to this game. In this meeting between the two, the Tigers beat the Red Devils again; this time by the score of 50-44.

Williston Jumps Out to Early Lead

Williston and Trenton tip-off district semifinal matchup. Picture by Hugh Green.

The Red Devils started off the game red hot. They made their first basket on the first possession with a Tayelen Seabrook layup. After a made basket by Trenton, Williston rattled off seven straight points thanks to two baskets by Kyler Lamb. With the Red Devils up 9-2 early, Trenton took a time out and the home crowd was going crazy.  You couldn’t talk to the person right next to you without yelling in their ear.

The Williston defense played a very solid first quarter. They didn’t allow anything to get going for the Tigers’ offense and gave up just eight points all quarter. The Devils were forcing miss after miss and were coming down with rebounds, holding the Tigers to one shot each possession. They also came away with two blocks in the first, both by sophomore Kyler Lamb.

Williston shot the ball very well in the first quarter. The Devils were 6 of 10 from the field, four of these baskets being assisted on as well. They turned the ball over four times, but this didn’t hurt them early. With one second left, Javon Brown sank a mid-range jumper to put the Devils ahead 15-8 going into the second.

Great Play Continues in Second

Williston’s fantastic play carried over into the second quarter. They got a couple of quick baskets from Seabrook and Lamb to put them up 19-8. The Devils were finding gaps in the Tigers’ zone defense often. Again and again, Williston had open shots in the midrange, and they were connecting on almost all of them. Trenton had no answer for the great ball movement and player movement from the Red Devils. Nobody stood still, everyone was moving, and this caused lots of issues for the Tigers in the first half.

On the other end of the floor, Trenton still couldn’t get much going on offense. They scored in single digits again in the second with just nine points. The Red Devils were moving flawlessly on the perimeter, closing out on every opportunity for Trenton. With 2:25 left to play in the half, senior Ryan Williams rejected a weak layup attempt by the Tigers. This had the crowd jumping again as everyone rose to their feet.

Williston closed out the first half on a 7-2 run thanks to two three-pointers by JT Tipton and Kyler Lamb. The Devils shot even more efficiently in the second, going 6 of 8 from the floor and 2 of 3 from three-point land. Williston outscored their opponents 15-9 in the second quarter putting them up 30-17 at halftime.

Getting Heated

Williston began the second half strong, scoring six points to start the half dragging the lead to 19. Sophomore Javon Brown led offensive efforts for Williston. Driving strong to the rim and finding space in the mid-range to score. Meanwhile, the Tigers continued to struggle against the Red Devil defense at the start of the quarter.

However, the Tigers did not give up despite the deficit and started to gain momentum three minutes into the quarter. They started to run a highly organized defense in which the Red Devils struggled to formulate attacks. The Tigers held the Red Devils scoreless until the last minute of the quarter. On the other end, effective attacks allowed the Tigers to score 12 points in the quarter, cutting the lead from 19 to seven points. 

The game intensified significantly in the second half as both teams played aggressively. With strong defensive efforts by both teams, more fouls were drawn. A technical foul was called against Williston’s bench after they exchanged words with the referee. At the end of the quarter, Williston led Trenton by nine points at 38-29. 

Unexpected Twist in the Fourth

Sophomore guard Javon Brown drives to the basket hard for tough layup. Picture by Cherie Chick.

Williston was in control for most of the game, ending each quarter with a significant lead. Entering the fourth quarter, Javon Brown continued to play aggressively. Attacking strongly to the rim while getting offensive rebounds for the Red Devils. However, careless passes would cause significant turnovers for the Red Devils. The Tigers benefited from consecutive steals to tie the game at 39-39 with 4:35 remaining. Williston coach Jim Ervin immediately called a timeout. The Red Devils only scored one point in the first six minutes of the quarter. 

Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Red Devils even after the timeout. The Tigers managed to intercept a pass immediately to give them the lead for the first time all game. With 2:28 remaining, the Tigers were up by 4. Kyler Lamb was fouled but he was unable to make two crucial free throws for Williston. The Tigers continued to attack with increased ball movement and brought the lead up to six. With 53 seconds remaining, Javon Brown scored a bucket to decrease the deficit and keep the Red Devils in the game. But in the end, Trenton pulled away to a 60-44 win.

What’s Next for the Red Devils?

Williston did not manage to move forward to the district finals, ending their season. However, their roster is packed with young talent. This includes the top-scorer of the season – eighth-grader JT Tipton – and the highest scorers of the game – sophomores Kyler Lamb and Javon Brown. It was a devastating loss for the Red Devils, but with a young core, Williston is set to grow and come back stronger next season.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a third year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

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