State championship winners, the Williston boys basketball brought home their first state program title with a 58-49 win over Chipley.
Red Devils coach Jim Ervin, for the first time in 26 years of coaching, won the state championship and was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year. Ervin is focused on building an unstoppable Williston basketball program.
The Red Devils joined Mainstreet Sports Director Mike Ridaught on The Prep Zone Sports Show to discuss their season.
Below are excerpts from the March 29, 2023, show—edited for length and clarity—of The Prep Zone’s interview. You can listen to the full conservation online by going to www.mainstreetdailynews.com/prep-zone.
Q: Now that you have won a state title, I know that next year, you're going to be the hunted. There's got to be an unreal feeling. What does it mean, as a program, to be able to do that?
Ervin: These kids have already gone back to work. We took one week off, and we've been in the gym ever since for four nights a week. So, number one, they want to build something special there. We've told our seniors you've started it now and the younger kids have to follow up. So, I think it's just one of those things that we build a program. When you come into Williston gymnasium, you're going to be expected when you're playing the Williston basketball expectations now, to win and to be great young men in the community. That's what we're building there.
Q: Will you try to change anything about your approach for next year? Does anything change at all for you, from a coaching standpoint?
Ervin: Maybe one thing is getting kids to just buy in earlier. You know, with the younger kids, I don't think they understand the dedication that we had for seniors' years here. They've got to understand the dedication and time they have to put into to be great. The older kids have. There is hope we can develop that throughout our youth and if that happens, it's going to be a great run for many years.
Q: Give me a game other than the final four state championship or state semifinal game that stands out the most to you this year and why.
Coach Lamb: I want to give you two games. Unfortunately, it's going to be against the same team, but what our guys did to come in and beat GHS home and away was huge for us. That's a larger classification school. They're very well coached. They were very amazing. They made the region final. I mean, they did a great job. I mean, from them having, you know, tough guard, big man in the middle, playing the type of ball that they play and for us to hold them to a little over 40 points at their home. Yeah, that was huge for us. That's a big confidence builder, especially with some of the letdown games that we had this season. Yeah. You know, I don't think the kids went in overlooking teams. They were locked in those big games, and it mattered, and they made it count.
Q: Alright, let's start with our senior first, Greg, congratulations. Tell me how it feels to win a state championship in your last go at it.
Greg Maxwell (SR): It definitely was a goal for me to get down to the state championship on my resume. I feel good. Listen, to just get in here—like first year back—to really get into basketball again and come here to Williston. When I first got here, I really felt at home as you know when we were grinding through the summer playing all those games and just continuing throughout the season and just you know the end of winning the state championship, which not a lot of people end up doing. It was just an awesome experience. I'm thankful. Thank God for that.
Q: Javon, in order for this team to win a state title next year what has to happen?
Javon Brown (JR): I believe that is going to have to happen if we get to work in the offseason harder than we ever did before.
Q: Coach, you mentioned I think that your JV program did pretty well. I mean, do you kind of see it as maybe an opportunity for somebody for that JV program to play a big role, maybe not necessarily be the guy, but you know, a good supporting role?
Ervin: Of course, you know, our programs are pretty stout. Our middle school didn't lose a game this year either. We've got a great foundation coming through our program. And, of course, we want our JV kids to step up, but we're getting our program to a point now where our sophomores and freshmen are playing JV and juniors and seniors are playing varsity. And that makes a huge difference when you have to bring a freshman or sophomore before the varsity level. It's tough planning. It's basically grown men. Yeah, kids are 17-18 years old. Our JV programs have just been outstanding for the last three years and it's going to help our varsity program.