Dylon Williams

Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Stanhope Elmore’s Dylon Williams gets to the basket against Park Crossing.

After seeing its 11-point halftime lead disappear, the Stanhope Elmore boys basketball team needed someone to step up in the final moments of regulation against LAMP. The Mustangs turned to the hot hand of Dylon Williams, who already had a game-high 28 points at the time, and Williams delivered with a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

“That was an exciting moment,” Williams said. “I was just shooting because I wanted to help my team out.”

Williams came back out of the break with another 3-pointer to put the Mustangs back in front and they never looked back. Williams finished with a career-high 34 points to go along with 15 rebounds as Stanhope avenged a loss to LAMP with a 78-73 victory Thursday night. He is the Elmore County Player of the Week.

“We were trying to beat them back since they beat us bad the first time,” Williams said. “That win meant a lot. It gave us a boost of confidence in our teamwork and our skills.”

After knocking down two 3-pointers in the second quarter, Williams turned it up a notch after the break. He scored 21 points in the second half and overtime while making five more 3-pointers. Williams was the only response the Mustangs had to LAMP, which made 15 3-pointers as a team.

“I have been crying for that all year out of him,” Stanhope Elmore coach Terry Hardy said. “It’s just about getting him to be consistent. At the end of the day, he’s just a 10th-grader so he just has to change his mentality a little bit.”

Williams said he did not realize he was having such a big night until he saw the stats after the game.

“It was just a regular night for me,” Williams said. “It wasn’t anything that special. I didn’t feel any different. I think it was just seeing the ball going into the net. That was a confidence boost.”

Despite setting a career high on the scoresheet, Hardy said Williams’ performance stood out for many other reasons. Williams led the team in rebounds and contributed heavily on the defensive end.

“He did the small stuff, even more than just the 34 points,” Hardy said. “He rebounded and played defense so I was more proud of him for that than the points part. He was just making shots and he was playing really well on both ends of the floor.”

In the win over LAMP, Williams was the go-to player down the stretch as Stanhope’s leading scorer DJ Jamerson was having an off night. Jamerson scored just four points in the second half, all of them coming in the third period, and Williams said he knew he had to help the team come out with a win.

“We need more of that stuff from everyone on the team,” Hardy said. “One night you may not have it but it’s all about the team and what you can do to help the team. Sometimes it’s scoring and sometimes it’s the other things.”

Williams hopes he is hitting his stride at the right time of the season. He finished with just seven points in Monday’s loss to Park Crossing but he contributed eight rebounds and three blocks so Hardy believes Thursday’s game helped Williams understand what he needs to do to help the Mustangs be successful.

“That’s definitely a confidence booster,” Hardy said. “Now he knows what he is capable of so now he has just raised the bar for himself and for my expectations of him.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.