When Westbury’s Jalyn Dunlap received his defensive assignment for Wednesday night, he knew he was in for a challenge.
Xavier Merriweather scored 27 points for Port Washington when the two teams met on Jan. 7, single-handedly keeping the Vikings close in a 12-point loss. The Green Dragons weren’t Merriweather’s only victim this year — he entered Wednesday night ranked second in Nassau with 22.6 points per game.
“I just said to myself to stay aggressive on defense and don’t let him do that again,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap, the primary defender on Merriweather when Westbury was not in a zone, helped hold his assignment to 17 points. Merriweather has only produced smaller outputs twice this season.
Dunlap also scored six of his 15 points during a key third-quarter run, as the Green Dragons opened a double-digit lead on the way to a 69-53 win in Nassau AA-II.
“We started Jalyn on Merriweather and not only did he score the 15 and carry us offensively for a stretch but he played very good defense,” coach Dave Graff said. “We also keyed in on [Merriweather] as a team, but [Dunlap] was guarding him.”
Jonathan Dean had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Westbury (9-0). Darius Young had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Brandon Ottley scored 13 points. Ottley sank three-pointers on three straight possessions late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
With the win and Baldwin’s loss to Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Westbury stands two games ahead of the Bruins (8-2). The Green Dragons have three regular-season games remaining, with Baldwin as the opponent in the season finale.
“It gives us a nice cushion between first and second place,” Ottley said, “and we’re looking to finish out the conference well and win the next two before Baldwin.”