There’s shutdown defense and shutout defense, and in the second quarter, the Uniondale boys basketball team demonstrated the difference.
In a rare feat, the Knights held Farmingdale scoreless in the second quarter, with a quick, aggressive team defense, rarely providing the Dalers an open look. Uniondale continued its impressive play on the defensive side into the second half, en route to defeating Farmingdale, 55-43, in Nassau AA-I boys basketball at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum Monday evening.
Said junior forward Juwan Shuford, “If you don’t play defense at Uniondale, you can’t play here.”
After an evenly played first quarter, featuring six lead changes with the score tied at 17 after the period, Uniondale outscored Farmingdale, 10-0, in the second quarter, taking a 27-17 lead into halftime.
“We’re trying to become that kind of a defensive team,” coach Tom Diana said. “We’re talking, swarming, taking away defensive gaps and in the second quarter, we played very, very well defensively. They’re good, so if you let them get comfortable, they’re hard to play against.”
The Dalers (0-1) had six different scorers in the first quarter and Uniondale had six different scorers in the first half, with 11 points from Latrell Williams -- including nine in the first quarter -- in the opening 16 minutes and five points from Rashaun Gorham, all coming in the second period.
“I just kept driving baseline,” said Williams, who finished with a team-high 12 points. “That’s my strong suit, so I stuck to it”
Williams added the team had extra motivation, playing at the home of the Long Island Nets, the Brooklyn Nets’ G League affiliate.
“It was a great experience,” Williams said. “Coming out here on this stage made us play harder.”
The Uniondale defense continued its aggression in the third quarter, forcing tough shots, shot clock violations and turning steals into fast-break baskets as the Knights extended their lead to 41-28 after three quarters. Rolando Meyers-Turner scored six of his 11 points in the third period.
Shuford added nine points, along with coming up with multiple steals leading to fast-break points. Justin Evelyn added eight points at point guard.
Luis Smikle Jr. led Farmingdale with 15 points and Thomas Maroldo added nine points, as eight different Dalers scored in the game.
After winning the Nassau AA championship last season, the Knights (2-0) are looking to improve as the season goes on in hopes of making another run at a title.
“I tell them when you go to a movie, you don’t want to see a trailer or a clip,” Diana said. “So we’ve been seeing clips, but we want to put them together so you see a movie.”