Osagie Ekhator of Elmont, right, sinks a shot and draws...

Osagie Ekhator of Elmont, right, sinks a shot and draws a foul that resulted in a three-point play during the first quarter of a Nassau Conference AA-II boys basketball game against Garden City at Elmont on Tuesday. Credit: James Escher

Elmont boys basketball has its goals amid a potentially special season. The Spartans showed what it may take to reach them in the second quarter against Garden City Tuesday.

After trailing by six at the end of the first quarter, Elmont upped its intensity on both ends of the floor. The Spartans scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to grab a four-point lead, which it never relinquished. Led by forward Osagie Ekhator’s 13 points, nine different Spartans scored in a 62-42 home win to remain undefeated in Nassau AA-IV.

“We definitely picked it up in that second quarter,” Elmont coach Ryan Straub said. “Played with a lot more energy, a lot more intensity. We got to playing our style of defense, which is making guys feel uncomfortable.”

“Basically our coaches sat us down (before the second quarter) and just told us, ‘What are we doing?’” Ekhator said. “We work hard all summer. We do all this weight room, all this extra working out so we can provide and show something for us. So he told us, ‘Play hard. Play together. Get stops. Play Elmont basketball.’”

Elmont (11-3, 8-0) outscored Garden City 23-8 in the second quarter.

Guards Gemere Frias-Walsh and Cassius Moore each scored 11 points for Elmont. Matthew Liberopoulos scored 15 points for Garden City (5-7, 2-5).

Tuesday was the second of two games this season between Elmont and the Trojans. Elmont beat Garden City by 29 on Dec. 12.

Elmont has won its eight conference games by an average of 28.1 points, with the lowest margin being a nine-point win at Sewanhaka on Dec. 21.

The Spartans, who had already clinched a playoff berth before Tuesday’s game, are in the driver’s seat to claim the AA-IV crown and look for their first county title since 2020.

“We’re focusing on being our best selves for February,” Straub said. “And we do openly talk that we want to be playing our best basketball at the right time. We stay humble and we know we want to take it one game at a time, but we envision our best basketball in February and then hopefully into March.”

In addition to its 10-0 run to start the second quarter, Elmont also went on an 11-2 second-quarter run to grab a 31-20 lead with 2:48 left in the first half. The Spartans hit five three-pointers in the second quarter and nine threes overall.

“We definitely talk about goals,” Ekhator said. “… We want to win conference, LIC and make it up to states. We know it’s not gonna be easy, but we’re ready for it.”

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