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Team effort keeps Uniondale ahead of Elmont in Gary Charles Hoop Classic

Uniondale defeated Elmont, 55-39, at the Gary Charles Hoops Classic, at Adelphi, on Sunday, January 12, 2020. (Credit: Newsday / Owen O'Brien)

It’s clear that the Uniondale boys basketball team embodies Aristotle’s ancient saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The Knights don’t have just one way of going after opponents on offense and defense, and Sunday was an example. Uniondale relied on 6-6 Rashaun Gorham early to control the paint inside before Isaiah Joseph-Brock scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as Uniondale beat Elmont, 55-39, in the Gary Charles Hoop Classic at Adelphi.

“This game, we really emphasized getting the ball to the post and we fed it to [Gorham] enough times,” Joseph-Brock said, “and then they started opening up on us and it opened up for me as well.”

Gorham scored six of his 11 points as Uniondale (9-1) took a 30-13 lead into halftime.

“I try to set the presence inside,” said Gorham, who had 12 rebounds. “I play aggressive and that sets up everyone else and spaces the floor and helps create easy buckets.”

Defensively, the Knights play an aggressive style that tries to make opponents uncomfortable. Just as the team shares the ball on offense, its defense is reliant on continuity.

“We emphasize everyone has to play five strong on the ball,”  said Joseph-Brock, who had nine rebounds. “And if we play five strong, we get to running and we get to play the game how we play.”

Jevon Santos had 12 points for Elmont (5-5), which outscored Uniondale 12-5 in the third quarter to get within 35-25.

The defending Nassau Class AA champion Knights hope playing tough non-league games and in tournament atmospheres will help get them ready for the biggest parts of the season.

“This gets us prepared for the big stage so we already know what we are getting into,” said Jo Jo Wright, who had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. “We just try to stay together and play.”  

By doing so, Uniondale relies on each other to get where it wants to be — playing for a shot at another title.

“I think if you share the ball, depending on what defense the other team is playing, it’s going to present different scoring opportunities for different people,” coach Tom Diana said. “And I think that’s exactly what happened [Sunday].”

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