There were backdoor cuts. There was trapping and pressing and swarming defense. And there was the poise to force the opposition to play defense for most of the 35-second shot clock.
Oh, Elmont was a sight to behold as it faced host Sewanhaka in a Nassau A-II boys basketball game on Wednesday.
“We’ve been playing together, most of us, since grade school and we have a lot of chemistry, senior guard Isiah Barnes said after Elmont’s 50-31 victory. “We know what each other is going to do. We work well together. You could see it today.”
As has long been the case, the cornerstone for Elmont is its withering defense. The Spartans swarmed the less-experienced Indians. They gave up only two baskets in the second and fourth quarters.
“We have a lot of quick hands and we like to get deflections,” said senior forward Gus Louis, who led all scorers with 23 points. “We get our fingers on the ball, get takeaways and turn it into the fast break.”
“We have a lot of fun when we’re playing that kind of defense,” senior guard Jevon Santos said. “We like playing together. We feel like a family”
Elmont (6-5, 5-0) turned the turnovers into 14 points and shared the ball well in transition.
However, there is more to the Spartans than just the defense this time around. The group has a maturity about it.
“We’re not a typical Elmont team,” Spartans coach George Holub said. “We have to learn how to play offense in the half-court. That’s what we learned in the playoffs the last two years. We can’t be that team that plays with its hair on fire every single time.”
Santos finished with 12 points and eight assists and Barnes had seven points and five assists for Elmont, which will face defending Long Island Class A champion Manhasset on Saturday. Frantz Compere had eight points and Kamren Denhart had seven for Sewanhaka (7-4, 2-3).
After trailing 12-10 after one quarter, Elmont scored on three straight possessions to start the second. Barnes scored on drives for the first two of those and junior swingman Jordan Rayford put in a sweet pull-up jumper for a 16-12 lead en route to a 23-16 margin at the break.
Louis scored eight of his points in the third quarter as the Spartans broke open the game.
Elmont has challenged itself with non-conference games against Class AA forces Smithtown West and Uniondale as well as Catholic schools Chaminade and St. Dominic. It didn’t win any of those four games but it may be paying off with how they’re playing now.
“We’ve had some hard games,” Louis said, “but I like the way we’re playing now.”