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OCALA - What really made Williston's sixth-place finish in the Papa John's boys basketball tournament at Trinity Catholic last week disappointing was the feeling of what might have been.
The Devils lost the opening game, 58-52, to Wesley Chapel, which eventually went on to win the tournament, defeating Miami Washington and Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII for the championship.
But in that first game the Devils came very close to a victory.
Trailing by one point late in the game, Williston was called for a very questionable offensive interference. But moments later they had another chance to go ahead, and this time a missed dunk proved costly.
That meant, with time running out, Williston had to foul, and the Wildcats from Pasco County were extremely sound fundamentally, and made their free throws down the stretch to pull away. Wesley Chapel shot 23 free throws in the game to only 11 for the Red Devils.
Deonte Welch had 15 points in the game, Devin Timmons scored 14 and Isaac Floyd chipped in with 11 while C.J. James had eight.
In the first round of the consolation bracket the Devils gradually pulled away from Keystone Heights to win 55-36.
James had a double-double, collecting 15 points and 10 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end. Welch scored 11, Floyd had nine and Jacques Edwards added eight. Timmons had five steals.
That brought up the battle for fifth place with host Trinity Catholic, which had lost its opener to the New Jersey school. Each team was ranked sixth, Williston in Class 3A and Trinity in Class 2A.
The Devils hung tough with the Celtics throughout the first half, at one time having a 21-15 lead before the home team reeled off 10 points in a row en route to a 60-50 win.
Then, down 30-23, Williston bounced back on a three-point play by Floyd to cut it to 30-26 at halftime.
But Trinity scored the first six points of the second half, let Williston back in behind a pair of jumpers by Kelcey Coleman, then outscored the Devils 11-3 for the rest of the quarter to take a commanding 14-point lead going into the final period.
Trinity widened the lead to 22 points before Williston went on a little run to end the game. After working the ball for some time, the Devils suddenly started sinking three-pointers, as Timmons had a pair and Eddie Thomas had two more, which made the final score closer.
Timmons and Welch had 11 points each and Coleman added 10. Trinity's big man, Matt Sauey, scored 20 and guard Matt Fletcher scored 15.
Next for Williston is a game Saturday at Gainesville Eastside where it will battle Orlando Bishop Moore at 3:30 p.m.