Williston High School defeated Hilliard 61-53 at the FHSAA Boys 1A Championship at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland on. Saturday March 2 2024 [Photo by Calvin Knight]

Williston Boys Basketball Wins Back-To-Back State Titles

The Williston High boys basketball team won its second consecutive 1A state title Saturday by defeating Hilliard, 61-53, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The Red Devils are the first Gainesville-area boys team to secure back-to-back title wins since GHS in 1999 and 2000.

How The Devils Pulled it Off

Williston (29-2) entered the FHSAA state semifinals Friday against Chipley (19-12), a team it saw last year in the state finals. Williston cruised by Chipley, 63-30, to advance to Saturday’s title game.

Williston has been a force to be reckoned with since the start of the season. In the four playoff appearances they averaged 80 points per game, fighting consistently the entire time. Hilliard (25-3) was the first team in the playoffs to put the Red Devils to the test.

The energy was up the entire game, with both teams beginning a back-and-forth battle right at the jump. By the half, Williston held the lead 28-24.

With a minute left in the game, Williston made seven free throws to secure its second consecutive state trophy.

Jim Ervin’s Thoughts

Williston coach Jim Ervin said the Red Devils knew what it took to come out of the weekend with a state title after doing so last season.

The Red Devils are losing six seniors, four starters and are bringing back six varsity players next season, Ervin said.

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” Ervin said. “We’re getting back to work. We’re going to take two weeks off here, and we’ll be back in the gym again preparing for the following year. That’s the way we did it last year, and that’s our plans on this year – getting back into the gym. Getting better as individuals and getting stronger and quicker in the weight room.”

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