The Williston boys basketball team finally got another chance to be on the court Tuesday night, and despite the rust came away with a district win, 60-52, over Dixie County.
The team travels to Dunnellon Saturday night for a girls-boys doubleheader.
Williston had a game with Newberry postponed last week because the Panthers were in the football playoffs that night.
It was a hotly contested battle against Dixie, with neither team shooting well and scores of turnovers. "Somehow we found a way to win," said Williston coach Dave Vespignani, "And that's what you want at this time of year."
He added, "We've been practicing well, but practice and the games are two separate things," adding that in the game there was the pressure of crowd noise.
The game was also not without controversy as Williston had two points taken away at halftime. The two points could not be found in the individual totals of the home scorebook, so the referee ordered the points taken off the board, despite the fact that Rule 2-11 says, "If the discrepancy is in the score and the mistake is not resolved, the referee shall accept the progressive team totals of the official scorebook."
Those team totals, commonly called the running score at the top of each page, had the correct score, but the referee ignored that fact.
For a while it seemed as if the two points would matter. Williston's lead, officially 30-22 at the half, was quickly gone as the Bears scored the first 10 points of the third quarter. But, faced with their first deficit of the game, the Devils rallied. Isaac Floyd had a basket and free throw and followed with a running jumper. After a Dixie basket closed the gap to one, the teams traded shots.
But with the score 42-40, Deonte Welch hit a pair of shots to end the period and give Williston a 46-40 lead.
Two free throws enabled Dixie to creep back to four, but Kelcey Coleman had a jumper, Carl James had a pair of free throws and, after three Dixie points, Coleman hit a three to make it an eight-point lead.
Still, the Bears crept back to four, but Devin Timmons had a pair of foul shots and Welch hit one free throw after James had a key rebound, and that widened it to seven points.
Again Dixie hit a three and called time with 19.4 seconds left, but Coleman hit a pair of free throws with 14.5 to go. Welch then blocked a shot and Timmons scored at the buzzer.
Williston is now 2-0. The makeup game with Newberry has been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17, on the road.
Here are the individual point totals, which add up to 62: Coleman 17, Welch 15, Floyd 10, Timmons 8, James 8 and James Hunt 4.