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Elmont gets best of Sewanhaka

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There’s always excitement and intrigue when Elmont and Sewanhaka meet on the basketball court for intradistrict bragging rights. While the Spartans have had more to boast about throughout history, the Indians have closed the gap over the past three seasons.

Sewanhaka hosted the first of two meetings between the Nassau A-II foes on Jan. 15 in front of an energetic, standing-room-only crowd, but it was Elmont that emerged victorious in convincing fashion.

Senior Gus Louis had a career-high 23 points, and Jevon Santos added 12 points and 10 assists to lead Elmont to a 50-31 win. Franz Compere led the Indians with eight points.

Despite being plagued by a nasty turnover bug, Sewanhaka hung around and trailed by only six points midway through the third quarter.

But, an 11-2 Elmont run, capped off by a layup by senior guard Isiah Barnes off a nifty backdoor feed from Santos, gave the Spartans a commanding 40-25 lead early in the final quarter.

“Our game plan was to get the ball inside, but we didn’t execute,” Sewanhaka head coach Jay Allen said. “They executed theirs, especially in the second half. Turnovers were the difference in the game. You can’t give the ball up like that and win a game against a team like Elmont.”

With Santos setting up teammates for easy buckets, Sewanhaka went to a zone early in the second quarter and it slowed the Spartans down. However, the Indians were tentative in the paint and could not take advantage of their opportunities.

Elmont’s poise was a big factor in its ability to come out on top. “Coach [Elmont head coach George Holub] had us ready,” Santos said. “We were prepared. We always want to play uptempo, but we knew when to slow it down. We wanted to have control of the entire game and it’s exactly what we did.”

Each time Sewanhaka needed a big stop, Santos used patience and tactically move the ball around the perimeter before finding an open man for a layup. More often than not, it was Louis who was the beneficiary.

“We try to stick to the game plan and work as a team,” Louis said. “We have a lot of fun. We’ve been playing together since third or fourth grade. The chemistry is there.”

Elmont (7-4 overall, 6-0 in conference play) finished off the first half of the league schedule with a 62-40 win over defending Long Island-champion Manhasset. Senior guard Jordan Lawson hit seven three-pointers to tally 21 points to lead the Spartans. Santos had nine points and nine assists, and Jaden Rayford added nine points.

For Sewanhaka, which is 7-5 overall, the message is simple. “We have to get right back at it,” Allen said. “We just have to get past this game. There’s no time to dwell on it.”

Both teams are back in action this Saturday. The Indians host Great Neck North at noon, while the Spartans travel to Bellmore Kennedy for a 2 p.m. tip-off.