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Williston boys basketball coach David Vespignani wants his players to buy into the philosophy of playing sound defense.
Late last week, it looked as if the plan is working.
Rebounding from a pair of losses to Newberry and Santa Fe, the Red Devils finished fifth in the Hitchcock's Classic, defeating Leesburg and Hawthorne, thereby winning the consolation bracket.
This week the team gets to put it to a big test as it plays in the Papa John's tournament at Trinity Catholic in Ocala. Opening game was to be Thursday at 4 p.m. against Wesley Chapel. A win there would likely set up a semifinal game against powerful Miami Washington.
WILLISTON 58, HAWTHORNE 26: The Devils led all the way, and really put it away by scoring 19 out of the final 20 points in the game.
It was tied early in the second quarter before a surge sparked by a pair of three-pointers by Isaac Floyd made it a 12-point lead, which dwindled to seven early in the second half.
But the Devils steadily pulled away and then their relentless defense completely smothered the Hornets in the final period.
For the game Deonte Welch scored 18 points, Floyd had 16 and C.J. James added 12. Jacques Edwards and J.J. Hunt each had four and Devin Timmons and Carlton Wilcox each scored two.
WILLISTON 52, LEESBURG 34: Another strong defensive effort stopped the Yellow Jackets from scoring. A 23-5 margin in the second period put the game away by halftime.
Welch had 12 points, Timmons, Floyd and James each had eight, Kelcey Coleman scored seven, Wilcox and Hunt each had four and Edwards added a three-pointer.
SANTA FE 52, WILLISTON 47: The Devils had the lead and a chance to win, but Santa Fe came back to tie it in regulation and win it in overtime.
For Williston James and Coleman each had 12, Wilcox scored six, Welch and Timmons five each, Floyd had three and Hunt and Jiwantis Collins each scored two.