Elmont primed for playoff run


When Elmont boys’ basketball head coach George Holub put together a non-league schedule that included Chaminade, Holy Trinity, St. Anthony’s, Floral Park, and Deer Park to prepare his team for league play and the postseason, some questioned his motives. However, the Spartans weathered the storm going 3-2 in those games, and are a couple wins away from locking up the Nassau Conference AA-III title.

After last Friday’s convincing 91-35 win over Herricks, the Spartans are 10-3 overall; 7-1 in conference games. Tristan Brown scored 21 points and dished out 14 assists to lead the offensive fireworks. Brett Walker (18), Matthew Graham (17), Kevon Chambers (11), and Chiazam Nwankwo (10) all scored in double figures for the Spartans. The win was the fourth straight for the Spartans after a controversial overtime loss to Long Beach.

Holub likes the way his team is closing out the regular season. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting a little closer,” Holub said. “We want to be playing our best basketball going into the playoffs. We’re not quite there on defense, and we can shoot the ball better from the perimeter, but I like the way we’re playing.”

Brown has been outstanding, Holub said. The senior guard, in his fourth season with the varsity, is averaging 19.4 points per game. Scoring has only been a small part of Brown’s arsenal in 2013-14. “Tristan is the key to everything we do,” Holub said. “He’s the floor general. Tristan’s assists are way up from last year, and he’s very comfortable leading this team. He’s done a great job of putting teammates in position to score.”

One of those players is Nwankwo. Holub expected Nwankwo to be one of his team’s go-to guys, and the junior forward has not disappointed. Nwankwo has averaged nearly 12 points per contest over the past seven games, including a career-high 19 in a 72-59 win over Deer Park, one of Suffolk’s top teams. 

The Spartans hope that Graham and senior Keith Tompkins will each have the hot hand when the playoffs come around. Graham has been good for two or three from long distance each game. Both are capable of getting on a roll from the perimeter. Tompkins scored a career-high 16 points in a 74-57 win over Great Neck South.

Holub hopes the performance by Chambers in the win over Herricks is a sign of things to come. The 6-foot-4 senior recorded his first career double-double when he pulled down 12 rebounds to go along with his 11 points. 

The Spartans will look to exact a little revenge on Long Beach when they welcome in the Marines this Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Marines won the first meeting last month in overtime by a point.