For Elmont, it was a six-star performance.
A different Spartan grabbed the spotlight in each quarter and six players scored in double figures as No. 2 Elmont blitzed No. 3 Valley Stream North, 77-54, Wednesday night in the first Nassau Class A semifinals played at Hofstra.
“Whoever is hot gets the ball. That’s definitely part of our philosophy,” said 5-10 senior guard Travis Robinson-Morgan, who led with 16 points, 14 coming in the second half.
“That’s what we preach. We’ve got enough talent to share the ball,” said Elmont coach George Holub, who was also pleased with the team’s stingy zone defense. “We’re not traditionally a zone team, but this year, our kids are closing out on shooters and it looks like a man-to-man.”
Elmont (19-3) will face No. 1 South Side in the Nassau Class A championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at LIU Post. Jordan James led Valley Stream North (17-4) with 16 points and Noah Shy added 12.
“We were up 19 at the half but we weren’t satisfied,” Robinson-Morgan said of his second-half splurge. “We kept up our mental toughness and we kept playing hard.”
Sophomore K.C. Ndefo scored 13 points, seniors Yasir Lawrence, Darius Celestin and Jalen Burgess scored 12 each and sophomore Victor Olawoye, Robinson-Morgan’s backup, scored 10 points.
Robinson-Morgan had three steals in the first half and tossed a nifty alley-opp to Ndefo, who finished with a one-handed slam midway through the first quarter. That was a portent of things to come as Elmont ran the floor and finished in transition.
Burgess, a 6-3 center, scored 11 in the game-turning second quarter. In one sequence he scored on a strong drive, a mid-range jumper, a corner trey. That nine-point flurry put Elmont on top 29-12.
“Jalen played big today,” Holub said. “We are sharing the ball a lot more now than we did in the beginning of the season. Now, if one guy gets in foul trouble, someone else picks him up.”
VSN made one run early in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 39-28, but Robinson-Morgan nailed a step-back three-pointer from the right wing, then added a straightaway three and a floater to put the Spartans back firmly in control.
Elmont was so comfortably in front that Robinson-Morgan sat out most of the fourth quarter with four fouls. That’s when his protégé, Olawoye, got his star turn. He scored on a putback and added a driving bank shot while Robinson-Morgan cheered from the bench.
“I work on him every day in practice. We go at it,” Robinson-Morgan said. “I wanted to go back in the game, but Coach told me to watch Victor. He did a wonderful job.”