Williams, Round Lake push Woodstock aside
Get Hakim Williams the ball. And get out of the way.
That's one of the Round Lake boys basketball team's favorite plays.
It might have one of the best names, too.
"We call that 'Beast Mode,' " Williams said. "Get me the ball and get out of the way. It's really whoever is dominating the game at the time, whoever has the hot hand. Get them the ball and get out of the way. I think the play was designed for me, but it's for whoever is hot."
Williams was the Beast for Thursday's 'Beast Mode' plays against visiting Woodstock. He scored 14 points, many in the paint, in helping Round Lake to a 61-36 nonconference win.
The Panthers also got a game-high 18 points out of Isaiah Nixon.
The victory moves Round Lake to 3-4 on the season and avenges its loss to Woodstock over the Thanksgiving tournament season.
Woodstock, which made 15 3-pointers in its win over Round Lake in November but hit on just one 3-pointer this time around, drops to 2-4.
"We like to have funny names for the play calls," Round Lake coach Jay Iden said of 'Beast Mode.' "We like it for (Williams). He's a beast inside and we just want to get it to him and then stay out of his way."
Williams, who moved in over the summer from Clinton, Iowa, adjusted quickly to Round Lake. Iden says Williams wasn't shy at all and almost immediately fell into a leadership role, even though he is new and is just a sophomore.
"I just wanted to adapt and connect with the guys," Williams said. "I was comfortable and I would just tell the guys 'hey, we're going to be teammates, we might as well click now than later.'
"I think everybody was good with that. They hyped me up and I hyped them up. We're brothers."
Round Lake took a 12-8 lead into the second quarter against Woodstock and then kicked up its pressure defense a few notches to force 7 Woodstock turnovers and increase its lead to 13 points (32-19) by halftime.
"Two weeks ago when we played Round Lake, we handled their full court pressure really well so we felt confident that we would be able to do that tonight, but we couldn't," Woodstock coach Alex Baker said. "We didn't handle the pressure well and it all started there. We weren't getting shots, we were giving up easy shots in transition, and then once they got out to that big lead, it just kind of snowballed."
Woodstock was also playing without its second-leading scorer in Evan Bridges, who averages 15 points per game and was the team's most valuable player last year.
"I think we were relentless tonight and that's important because for us as such a young team, every game is a statement for us," Iden said. "We played Grant the other night and lost by like 25 points and we had a terrible practice right before that so that was a teaching moment for us.
"Before this game, our kids came in and had their best practice of the season. They are learning. That's a nice thing to see, especially with such a young group."
Kevonne Peterson added 15 points for Round Lake to give the Panthers three players in double-figures.
Andrew Adams topped Woodstock with 8 points.