published Monday, February 6th, 2012

Long a steady force for Lookout Valley

While most people were making Super Bowl preparations Sunday afternoon, William Long was making jump shots. As a result, it's not hard to figure why Lookout Valley coach Joe Galloway has confidence in his junior point guard during a game.

And while Long might not have had the flashy week with a lot of excellent, high-scoring games, sometimes a steady pace will win a race, and that was Long this week.

The junior averaged 20.3 points, four assists and 3.3 steals in victories over Marion County, South Pittsburg and Van Buren -- the latter putting the Yellow Jackets in sole possession of first place in District 6-A. Long's performance earned him Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.

"William is just so consistent," Galloway said. "We had a terrible start to Friday's game [against Van Buren]. They seemed more focused, and we didn't take the lead until the second quarter. They came back on us and took the lead for a minute, but William drove down floor and made a layup to put us back ahead."

Long capped off his 22-point performance against Van Buren by hitting 8-for-10 from the foul line down the stretch with the game still in doubt.

Although the victory over Van Buren was the freshest in mind, Galloway noted that all three performances were important, as they were all district games.

"They were all solid district wins, and William stepped up to the occasion," he said. "He's a great leader and a great teammate; I can't say enough about him. He had to play great for us to win Friday, because Van Buren is a pretty solid team."

Long was moved up to varsity in eighth grade, so his experience on the court is invaluable to both Galloway and his Yellow Jacket teammates.

"He does a good job of getting us in the right set on offense and on defense," Galloway said. "We have a good bunch of kids that like to follow William's lead because is a good example both on and off the court.

"It's a Sunday afternoon, and he's out in the gym working on his game. That's why his teammates respect him so much."

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