Hauppauge's Julie Williams' not impressed by numbers
Julie Williams scored 39 points on Thursday, leading her team back from a double-digit deficit, and carrying them in overtime to pull an upset in the first round of the Suffolk Class AA playoffs.
And the most impressive thing about all that? The performance wasn't that impressive . . . given her standards, of course.
Williams making the scoreboard ring up numbers like a slot machine has become the norm this season as the Hauppauge senior has transformed from spot-up shooter to an all-around superstar.
Oh, the jumper still is a big part of Williams' game -- she leads Long Island with 67 threes -- but it's her improved ball handling and willingness to drive and absorb contact that have her leading the Island with 26.2 points per game.
Williams said she has worked extensively with a trainer to become more versatile.
"I don't worry about my stats," the shooting guard said. "I take the shot when I'm open, but otherwise, I'm trying to find teammates or get inside."
She did that quite often Thursday, propelling the 13th-seeded Eagles from down 14 in the third quarter against No. 4 Copiague, to an eventual 66-63 overtime win. Williams scored all seven of her team's points in the extra session, and her 39 was a school playoff record. She also had 15 rebounds and seven steals.
"It was nerve racking when we were down," she said, "but as a captain it's my job to get us back in the game and keep everyone's energy up."
Williams has scored at least 31 points in each of the last four games, including going for 33 and nine steals in Tuesday's outbracket victory. Her career-high of 43 points came on Dec. 28 against Smithtown East.
As the team evolved, so too did Williams' role and style, coach Jamie Edson said. The Eagles graduated eight, including four starters, from last year's county runner-up squad, thus putting more of the focus -- and onus -- on Williams.
"Last year she could sit outside and shoot threes, but we needed more from her this year," Edson said, "and there's nothing she hasn't done."
"She's definitely the best player I've had," Edson said of Williams. "And if I coach another 25 years, I'd be hard-pressed to find another like her."