WEHS boys capture region crown

  • The Williston-Elko High boys varsity basketball team - Region III Champions - from left (kneeling) are Austin Smith, Ja’zeon Washington, Alex Bryant, L.J. Williams, Tyshawn Allen, Meddikis Priester, (standing) Coach Terrence Holley, Keyante Green, Da’Quan Cuthbertson, Desmond Murray, Head Coach Jeremy Lehman, Coach Ronnie Tobin, Tyran Parker, Demarkiis Doe, Keshawn Toney, and Coach Ernest Parker.

On Saturday night in the Blackville-Hilda High gymnasium, the Williston-Elko High varsity boys basketball team tipped off against Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High for the third time this season in a regular season playoff game to determine champions of Region 3A.

The teams split during the regular season with each winning on its home floor.

For the Blue Devils and the Trojans, the rubber match was one more opportunity for someone to establish dominance in what has been a two-team race this season in Region 3A.

The game reached title-level intensity as the team slugged it out the entire official 32 minutes. The Blue Devils, however, proved to be the more resourceful team down the stretch.

With 10.3 seconds remaining in the game, the, Trojans went ahead 56-55.

After a timeout, the Blue Devils answered when Keshawn Toney was fouled going to the hoop, but still managed to score on a layup. Toney converted the free throw to put the team ahead 58-56 with 4.3 seconds left.

A late shot attempt at halfcourt by a Hunter-Kinard-Tyler player missed its mark, giving the Blue Devils the crown of Region 3A.

Toney, as he did so many times this season, highlighted for the Blue Devils during crunch time. Toney scored six of his game-high 17 points in the final quarter. He also grabbed 15 rebounds.

“Great team win,” Williston-Elko High coach Jeremy Lehman said. “Keshawn Toney came through in a big way again for us. He is an outstanding player and he made a huge play when we needed one tonight.”

The victory gives Williston-Elko High its first region title in more than 20 years. The team heads into next week’s playoff with a record of 18-3 overall.

Lehman said it was a very competitive game that went right down to the final shot.

“Offensively, we wanted to keep the game low-scoring, but it doesn’t always go that way. H-K-T is very talented and well-coached. They play up-tempo, so our goal was to try and limit their runs,” Lehman said.

Offensively, the Blue Devils had several other players standing out. They include Demarkiis Doe with 10 points and 11 rebounds; and Desmond Murray, who had a good, all-around game with 14 points, seven assists and 10 rebounds.

“It just a great feeling to be region champs with a special group like this,” Lehman said. “We’re a cohesive group because I’ve coached and taught most of these kids since middle school. I’d like to give thanks to our great fans for their support, my assistant coaches and the administration.”