NORTH AUGUSTA --- Forgive Antonio "Buster" Walker if he appeared a bit uncomfortable as he stepped to the free-throw line with five seconds left in a tie game Tuesday night at Fox Creek. He was wearing women's clothing.
"Someone forgot to grab the bag with the jerseys," the Williston-Elko player said after the game. "So we had to wear the girls' jerseys."
Though the tops said "Lady Blue Devils" across the front and looked a bit snug on most of the players, Walker wasn't fazed. He hit the front end of the one-and-one for the game-winning points in a 52-51 Region 4-A win.
"It was kind of tight," Walker said of the jerseys. "But we had to come out and play ball. No excuses."
Even with the tight-fitting tops -- the Blue Devils opted for their practice shorts instead of trying to wear the girls' shorts -- Walker was prepared for the moment. A day earlier, he wasn't pleased with his recent free throw shooting effort and went to Williston-Elko coach Devin Liferidge about the problem.
"He wanted to improve his game, so we were in the gym 'til 9:30 last night," Liferidge said. "He must have shot 50 to 100 free throws."
The work in practice turned into a three for five night from the free-throw line for Walker, who finished with 15 points on six of 11 shooting from the field. It was also good enough for a key win in region play that lifted Williston-Elko to at least a tie for third place in the standings.
Fox Creek, which lost after Trevante Robinson's 25-foot jumper bounced off the right side of the rim as time expired, suffered a key blow with the region defeat. The Predators shot 46.5 percent from the field and battled back from a 10-point third quarter deficit to take the lead at 37-36 just five minutes later. But the home team missed eight of 17 free-throw attempts and turned the ball over too many times in the second half.
"We got down a couple of instances, then we'd come all the way back and they'd just go ahead and spread (the lead) back out," Fox Creek coach Andre' Baskett said. "Three times they did that."
Fox Creek center Owen Jacobs matched Walker with 15 points on the night and played even with him underneath the basket. Blue Devil guards Rokee Williams (16 points) and Quantel Mack (8) combined for five 3-pointers.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.