When things are hectic, Danny Ashley is calm. When one thing doesn’t work, Ashley finds something that does. The 5-9 senior point guard is like comfort food for Uniondale: dependable and just plain good.
Ashley had 15 points, eight steals and five assists to lead No. 1 Uniondale to a 61-44 victory over No. 4 Westbury on Monday night in a Nassau Class AA semifinal at Farmingdale State.
“Coach D puts a lot of trust in me. If we’re sloppy, that’s on me. If we’re good, that’s on me,” Ashley said, referencing coach Tom Diana. “I’m the one who has to make smart decisions.”
Ashley did that repeatedly in a game played at a frantic pace. He was in the middle of two scoring spurts that put the Knights (20-1) in control.
Ashley had a hesitation layup and a steal in an 11-0 run that helped Uniondale take a 24-16 halftime lead. He later contributed two steals, an assist and a three-pointer in a 10-0 run in the third quarter that gave the Knights a 36-23 lead.
Craig Brown (14 points, 18 rebounds) and Zion Styles (18 points) also helped Uniondale reach Saturday’s championship game against No. 2 Baldwin at 6:30 at Farmingdale State.
Jordan Redd scored 16 points and Jalyn Dunlap 14 for Westbury (12-9).
Ashley was particularly effective in the open court, often triggering the Knights’ transition game with a steal or a quick pass. When he had difficulty getting to the rim against Westbury’s active big men, Isaiah Bien-Aise and Tyreik Frazier, he “changed his game within the game,” according to Diana. “He’s very smart, an old-school point guard.”
Ashley was able to score on in-between hesitation moves and pull-up jumpers, or get Brown and Styles the ball in scoring position. “Their big men were long, so I stopped short and got some shots or got some kick-outs,” he said.
Of a defense that produced 17 steals, Ashley said: “That’s our main focus. We know our shots will fall eventually. It’s all about limiting the other team from getting good looks.”
And making them uncomfortable.
Baldwin 50, Massapequa 41: Rhyjon Blackwell scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the No. 2 Bruins (15-6) held off No. 11 Massapequa (10-12) in the other Nassau Class AA semifinal. Kamani Jones (nine points) came off the bench to nail a pair of three-pointers in that stretch.