Williston High School guard Aramys Rodriguez (1) drives past Hawthorne High School guard Darian Bowie (0) as Williston takes on Hawthorne during the opening day of the Kingdom of the Sun basketball tournament at Vanguard High School in Ocala on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023.

Williston Red Devils to Take on Chipley Tigers in State Semifinals

The Williston Red Devils will be facing the Chipley Tigers in the FHSAA 1A State Semifinals on Friday.

Finding Success in Unity

It’s no secret that the Williston Red Devils have got their game locked down. The defending state champions have only seen two losses this season leaving them with a 27-2 record.

In their regional final on Feb. 21, Williston smacked Trenton, 95-37, bringing them one step closer to the chance at being the two-time 1A State Champions.

Following this victory, WRUF’s Steve Russell was joined by Williston head coach, Jim Ervin, to speak about the team and their upcoming path. Ervin said they are taking each game “one at a time.” With a state title on the line, the Red Devils are aware that it’s one game and you’re out.

When talking about what makes this season’s team so special and dominant, Ervin pointed to two key factors: unity and maturity. He compared it to last year, each athlete is a year older. They had the opportunity to mature and grow together “as a team and not just individuals.”

Defending the Title

The Red Devils are making a name for themselves. In the 2023 FHSAA playoffs, Williston earned the 1A state title against Chipley. This year, the Red Devils are aiming for a repeat against their two-time opponents.

Ervin pointed out that the team is in a very advantageous position. Being in the state playoffs last season, the experience has allowed his players to be comfortable in a high-stakes situation. The team has already been through the process once.

Despite both teams’ great success so far, a few key players will be ones to watch in the upcoming match-up.

For Williston, senior Kyler Lamb is leading with 16.6 points per game. Additionally, senior Aramys Rodriguez is the leading player in field goal percentage at 76%.

Chipley’s Albert McKinnie holds the lead for both of these categories with an average of 16.3 points per game and a field goal percentage of 69%.

Looking Ahead

The winner of Friday’s game will play in the state championship game on Saturday against the winner of the Hillard and Crossroad Academy match-up.

About Emily Paraiso

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