Williston-Elko boys best Blackville-Hilda in title game
The Williston-Elko High boys varsity basketball team walked away champions of the Hawks’ Invitational Tournament Friday in Blackville.
The Blue Devils were able to use a third quarter run to shift the momentum in an otherwise close game to come away with a 37-22 victory.
Holding to a 17-13 haltime lead, the Blue Devils seized control of the game with a 14-3 run in the third quarter to go ahead 30-16.
In the final quarter, the Blue Devils continued to take advantage of a difficut shooting night by the Hawks by outscoring them 7-6 to complete the game.
Sophomore center Keshawn Toney spearheaded the Blue Devils’ second half surge, particularly in the third quarter with his timely rebounds and clutch putbacks. Toney, who led the team with 12 points and 13 rebounds, scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in the third quarter.
“This was a big win for our basketball team,” Toney said. “It was a struggle to get points but we made the plays when we had to for the win.”
Williston-Elko High coach Jeremy Lehman said it’s always a tough game when they play Blackville-Hilda.
“I was proud of the way our players battled the tough atmosphere in the championship game. We had a tired team, having played three games in three days, including two against in-county rivals,” Lehman said. “Each game, we started slow but we made adjustments and found a way to win.”
What worked for the Hawks in the first half was their perimeter shooting. For the team, Karim Kinard drained two 3-pointers and Montreal Saxon also added a trey as the Hawks flew to a 10-8 first-half quarter lead.
In the second half, however, the Hawks weren’t able to duplicate that success from outside. The Blue Devils’ defense clamped down on the Hawks’ shooters, limiting them to just four of 22 shooting from the floor.
“Our defense really picked up the tempo in the second half. We held them to just 10 points in the second half and it also gave our offense a chance to get going,” Lehman said.
Another bright spot for the Blue Devils was the play of Desmond Murray, who finished with eight points, six steals and four assists.
Others playing well included Demarkiis Doe with four points and nine rebounds. Tyran Parker had six points and seven steals and Meddikis Priester added two points.
Blackville-Hilda High, which had its lowest offensive output of the season, was led by Karim Kinard with nine points. Adonis Davis had five points and Montreal Saxon added four points.
Blackville-Hilda High coach Michael Beasley said the team picked the wrong time to have its worst game.
“We started the tournament strong with two straight wins. I thought we started well in this game, but we ran into a wall and just couldn’t get our shots to fall,” Beasley said.