Williams lifts Elmont in Class AA semis
When things look helter-skelter, that's when Elmont excels. It's an application of the chaos theory, basketball style.
"We like to force the issue," Spartans point guard Dillon Williams said after scoring 14 points and helping his team set the tempo control on high in a 66-42 victory over Hempstead last night in a Nassau Class AA semifinal game played at SUNY-Old Westbury. "We like to speed it up."
No. 2 Elmont (16-2) will meet a similarly fast-paced opponent, No. 1 Baldwin, in the AA title game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hofstra. No. 6 Hempstead finished 13-7.
"We like to get it to an up-tempo game and score in transition, but we'll set it up if it's not there," Elmont coach George Holub said. "It was there today. They gave us a lot of driving lanes."
Elmont got plenty of layups and when the Tigers collapsed in the lane to prevent those easy baskets, the wings were free. Elmont took advantage of that early, draining three consecutive three-pointers - one by Anthony Elechi (16 points) and two by Williams - during a 13-1 run that allowed them to enter the second quarter with a 15-5 lead. Hempstead, led by Mical Boyd's 18 points, got no closer than nine the rest of the way and trailed 31-15 at the half. When Tyler Dechalus scored six of his 10 points on Elmont's first three possessions of the third quarter, it was 37-17 and the Spartans were cruising.
"That's our game," Williams said of the frantic pace. "We can get easy baskets in transition. We know Hempstead likes to put pressure on the ball, but we're very good at breaking the press."
It helps to have point-guard depth. Robert Chambers, who started along with Williams, is a traditional point guard who doesn't look to score like Williams. Chambers made numerous slick passes and easily dribbled through traps. Impressive freshman Tristan Brown provided a spark late in the third quarter as nine different Spartans scored.
"Our bench played exceptionally well," Elechi said. "That kept everybody fresh and we were able to run-and-gun, push the pace and keep up our intensity. We love just pushing the ball upcourt."
Elechi said that a practice drill employed by Holub last week helped prepare the Spartans for Hempstead's press. It's a "5-on-10" drill in which the starting five is asked to bring the ball upcourt against 10 defenders. "The idea is that they know they have to keep moving to get open because they know they'll got double-teamed once they get the ball," Holub said. "They also have to come back strong to the ball. We knew we had to handle Hempstead's pressure and we know Baldwin will bring the pressure next week."
For Elmont, the more chaos the better.