Cash Williams orchestrated a beautiful performance in Saturday night’s Arizona Western men’s basketball win against the Grays Harbor Chokers.
Williams demonstrated his ability to slice through the defense to finish at the rim and showcased his much improved outside jumper, as he dropped 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
“My coaches told me I need to get more involved and more in rhythm,” the sophomore guard said. “Tonight, I took advantage of that. The defense kept giving me too much space and wanting me to shoot. That’s a little disrespectful, so I had to shoot them and I was making them.”
Williams played all but two minutes in the 76-69 victory and connected on 4-of-7 from deep.
Matadors coach Charles Harral is familiar with Williams’ skill set and expects this caliber of performance each outing.
“I kinda expect it every night,” he said. “To be honest, it’s only the second time in our first six games that it’s gone that (relying on Williams offensively). We need him to be more consistent, but we’re pleased with the win.”
The Matadors (4-2 overall) got off to a slow start offensively, digging themselves into an early deficit.
AWC looked off-sync, as foul trouble played a role in the rhythm for the Matadors on Saturday. A combined 47 fouls were whistled, contributing to three players (2 AWC) fouling out.
“We had a lot of guys in foul trouble,” Harral said. “It kinda messed up the rhythm of the game I thought. There were a lot of fouls for whatever reason.”
However, the Matadors would find their stride midway through the opening half and take a 41-32 lead at the break.
Then in the second half, the Matadors needed another big play from Williams to counter a Grays Harbor 7-1 run to begin the half.
Inbounding on the baseline, Williams stole the pass and raced down the court for an easy bucket. From there, the Matadors tallied their own 14-2 run to push the lead to 13.
But the Chokers weren’t going out quietly. Led by Malachi McLaurin’s 12 points, Grays Harbor eventually would slash the AWC lead to three points as less than three minutes remained.
That was until Jordon Green retrieved the outlet pass from Williams and laid it in to give the Matadors a five point lead.
Moments later, James Dunlop’s bucket with 1:45 left kept the AWC lead at five. Dunlop provided great minutes down the stretch by adding six points on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting.
“We have a lot of faith in him,” Williams said. “He can be a high level player at 6-foot-10.”
For the rest of the Matadors, Tyrell Tidey dropped a season-high 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He added two rebounds, but did foul out with less than four minutes left in the contest.
Harral is pleased with his big man and sees the early season progression from Tidey.
“Tidey gave us some good minutes,” he said. “He’s getting back in shape. He’s got to make his free throws, but he’s getting better conditioning.”
Guard Daniel Kiely contributed 10 points, seven boards and five assists in his 31 minutes of action. Jalen Townsell fouled out, but added seven key first half points to help build the Matadors’ lead.
AWC’s played six games in nine days and will get a weeks rest before heading to Thatcher to take on Little Priest next Saturday.