Elmont’s Cassius Moore splits Garden City’s Leonidas Vlogianitis and #Ben...

Elmont’s Cassius Moore splits Garden City’s Leonidas Vlogianitis and #Ben Lau during a Nassau girls basketball game on Wednesday at Elmont. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

When Cassius Moore banked in a three-pointer from the right wing late in the fourth quarter, he knew his shot was the crushing blow to his opponent’s spirits.  

“We were juiced after that, it was a big momentum swing that took away their morale,” the junior guard said. “Seeing them down gave us even more energy to extend the lead.”

Elmont defeated Garden City 56-48 in a Nassau A-II matchup at Elmont on Wednesday night. Moore’s big shot was his second three-pointer of the fourth quarter and came after Elmont forced a turnover. It gave the team a 48-42 lead, their largest throughout the first 29 minutes.

“We forced turnovers in the fourth and just as importantly, we ended defensive possessions with rebounds,” coach Ryan Straub said. “We got a chance to play fast, which is where we do our best.”

Leonidas Vlogianitis responded quickly with a three-point play after Moore’s shot, but Osagie Ekhator scored the next four points and Elmont ended the game with an 8-3 run.

Elmont (13-5, 7-3) got a balanced scoring attack, as three players finished in double-figures. Joshua Phifer led the way with 14 points, while Moore and Justus Nathaniel each scored 10.

“We wanted to play a bit more together this time around and with more intensity,” Straub said. “We had balanced scoring and that was key for us.”

Nathaniel was a spark plug on both sides of the ball for Elmont. He thunderously blocked a Vlogianitis shot out of bounds in the fourth. After Garden City (8-9, 3-6) scored on the ensuing possession, he raced down the court before the defense was set, received a pass and laid it in.

“I’m really just an energy type of guy, the more energy the better,” Nathaniel said. “Last game I didn’t play, so this time I knew I was going to come out and do my job.”

Garden City got most of its scoring contributions from the duo of Vlogianitis and Quinn Long. Vlogianitis scored 19 and Long scored 23. Long made five three-pointers and scored 12 points in the first half.  

The Elmont defense held Garden City far below the 62 points it scored in the first matchup, which Garden City won 62-48.  

“Last time we played them we came out flat and they punched us in our mouth in the first half,” Moore said. “We didn’t switch our game plan, but just came out with more energy this time.”

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