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Williston High School's boys stunned the North Central Florida basketball world Thursday night with a 57-54 win over P.K. Yonge in a battle of two unbeaten teams.
The win gave the Red Devils sole possession of first place in the regular season race in the district.
It was believed to be P.K.'s first district loss in seven years. The Blue Wave were ranked fourth in the Class 3A poll which came out Thursday.
When J.J. Hunt grabbed the final rebound as the buzzer went off, it triggered a wild midcourt celebration as the fans who crowded into the gym mobbed the players.
After an early 4-2 deficit, the Devils led the entire game. P.K. pulled to within one just before halftime and again just before the end of the third quarter as WHS took a 39-38 lead into the final eight minutes.
Six straight points to open the period, four by C.J. James and a deuce by Devin Timmons, opened up a seven-point lead, but P.K. fought back to 47-45 with just under four minutes to go.
Williston scored seven in a row, five by Kelcey Coleman and two by Deonte Welch to open up a nine-point lead with two minutes to go, but again the Blue Wave fought back to make it 54-52 with 50 seconds to go. But the Wave missed a free throw and had to foul with 39 seconds left. Coleman made one, but when P.K. came down the Wave missed and Hunt grabbed a rebound and was fouled with 26 seconds left.
He also made one free throw for a 56-52 lead, but P.K. got a bucket from big Walade Wade to make it 56-54, and P.K. called time with 9.1 seconds left.
They immediately fouled and Timmons sank one. The Blue Wave came down with one last try and missed, and a wild scramble under the basket ended with the ball in Hunt's hands as the buzzer went off.
Although P.K. has a reputation for destroying teams that try to run with them, that didn't work. "We're not going to change the style we play," said a happy coach Dave Vespignani afterward. "Our kids came down and made the plays."
Now the Devils have to get ready to go to Fort White one night later, on Friday, then travel to Newberry on Monday. Vespignani didn't think he'd have any trouble bringing the team back to earth. "Our goals extend beyond beating P.K. one time," he said.
Welch finished the game with 22 points, including a dunk late in the third period that really stirred the crowd. Coleman scored eight, including six in the last period, and Isaac Floyd also had eight. C.J. James also had a big final period, scoring all six of his points in those final minutes. Timmons also had six, Hunt had five and Carlton Wilcox scored two.
The JV game was equally thrilling in regulation, finishing at 66-66, but the Blue Wave scored all 13 points in overtime to take the win.