The only thing more dangerous than Donovan Williams the scorer is Donovan the distributor.
The Nebraska basketball recruit scored 20 points, but the 6-foot-5 junior guard also dished out seven assists for a balanced Lincoln North Star attack that produced a 67-51 home victory over Lincoln Southwest on Saturday at the Swamp.
“That’s something we’ve stressed in practice this past week, getting everyone involved,” said Williams, who had nine points and four assists in the opening period, guiding the Navigators (2-4) to a 24-14 lead after eight minutes. Southwest (3-4) never got closer than eight points after that.
“For us to be successful, it can’t be a one-man show, we need all 15 guys contributing and scoring,” Williams added. “We proved tonight we have a lot of guys who can hit shots.”
North Star buried eight three-pointers in the first half, the last one being a half-court bank shot from Kwat Abdelkarim just before the halftime buzzer to give the hosts a 40-25 advantage. He was the seventh different Gator to hit a three in the first half.
Williams got most of his assists on dribble penetration and kick-outs to open perimeter shooters. When he didn’t pass or finish himself, Williams was getting fouled, as he hit 8 of 10 free throws and contributed to Southwest’s foul trouble. He also snagged seven rebounds.
North Star’s length proved difficult for Southwest to match up against as 6-7 senior Josiah Allick had 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds and 6-3 junior Jared Lopez netted 12 points and grabbed five boards.
“They’re (North Star) a totally different team if they can stretch the floor and Williams distributes like he did tonight,” Southwest coach Alex Bahe said. “When he can draw the defense and kick to open shooters who hit shots, they’re tough to defend.”
North Star coach Tony Quattrocchi was as pleased with his team’s defense as he was with having nine Gators crack the scorebook. North Star forced 11 Southwest turnovers in the decisive first half and kept the Hawks from getting 6-9 senior Mayuom Buom established inside.
Buom was held to five points with one of the baskets being a three-pointer. Brayton Christensen and Zach Jarosz scored eight points each off the bench to pace Southwest.
“We made it a point of emphasis this week in practice to keep the ball out of the paint,” Quattrocchi said. “We had active arms on defense tonight and the athleticism to force turnovers and make things difficult for them."
Southwest girls 52, North Star 34
Seniors Raegan Wells and Jaden Ferguson netted 17 and 16 points, respectively, to pace the Silver Hawks (5-2) to the win. Both came alive in the second half to allow the Hawks to pull away from a 26-15 advantage.
The 6-1 Wells had 10 second half points, while the 5-11 all-stater Ferguson tallied nine in the final period. Sophomore Kylie Shottenkirk’s 11 points paced North Star (2-4).