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Elmont’s defense won’t rest against Byram Hills in state semifinal

Elmont's Travis Robinson-Morgan drives as Malcolm Wynter defends

Elmont's Travis Robinson-Morgan drives as Malcolm Wynter defends during the Nassau/Suffolk Challenges in Uniondale on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. Robinson-Morgan averaged 17.4 points this season. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Elmont is very defensive about the school’s first trip to the state Final Four in Glens Falls.

“We preach defense,” said coach George Holub, who superstitiously has grown a long salt-and-pepper beard that started in the summer. “We play a zone but we match up so well that it looks like a man-to-man.”

With guards Travis Robinson-Morgan and Yasir Lawrence being aggressive at the top of the zone and shot-blocking center K.C. Ndefo guarding the basket, the Spartans (21-3) have held opponents to 59 or fewer points in 10 of their last 11 games, all wins.

Most dramatically, Elmont held Harborfields scoreless for the entire fourth quarter and 11:25 overall in a 42-31 victory in last Sunday’s Long Island Class A title game.

So expect a low-scoring game in Saturday’s state Class A boys basketball semifinal against Byram Hills (21-5) at 10:45 a.m. at Glens Falls Civic Center. Byram Hills, from Westchester, allowed fewer than 50 points in each of its regional victories.

Elmont, ranked No. 5 by the New York State Sportswriters Association, is led by Robinson- Morgan, who has three-point range and has been a clutch shooter all season, averaging 17.4 points per game. There’s balance, too, with Lawrence (14.5), Ndefo (12.6) and Jalen Burgess (12.5) also in double figures. Ndefo blocked eight shots in a tense 55-51 double-overtime victory over South Side in the Nassau Class A championship game.

Byram Hills is led by 6-7 Matt Groll, who scored 14 points in a 50-48 squeaker over Johnson City in a state regional final. Groll also notched a double-double (11 points, 15 rebounds) in a 53-45 regional semifinal victory over Red Hook. Sophomore guard Skylar Sinon, a rising star, scored 15 points against Johnson City and 13 points against Red Hook.

The winner of this game will face the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal — between Wil liamsville South and Troy — at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Wil liamsville South is ranked No. 4 among the state’s Class A teams.

State Class A boys basketball semifinals

Elmont (21-3) vs. Byram Hills (21-5)

Saturday, 10:45 a.m., Glens Falls Civic Center

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