ELMIRA - Express senior guard Nahjor Mack scored 28 points including 16 in the second half to lead Elmira past Johnson City 57-42 on Saturday in a Southern Tier Athletic Conference boys basketball matchup.
"He's our guy on both ends of the floor," said Elmira head coach Ryan Johnson. "We got him in the middle of the zone, set him up nice, and he attacked the rim and finished. He's a phenomenal athlete and even a better kid. It was good to see him have a breakout performace."
Elmira started off strong in the first quarter behind 12 points from Mack and four points from Nolan Collins for a 18-11 lead after eight minutes.
The Wildcats responded in the second quarter, outscoring the Express 12-5 including a 6-0 run the last 2:38 to tie the score at 23. Xavier Hill had two 3-pointers and Keith Harris added six points for Johnson City.
"We had a few mental breakodowns, but give them credit, they are a good team and took advantage of some of our mistakes in that quarter," Johnson said.
Mack took over in the third quarter scoring 10 of Elmira's 14 points including a six straight points in the quarter that powered the Express to a 37-30 lead and ultimately to the win.
"We knew they were coming with the zone and if we could spread the floor a little and get Nahjor on the high post, he could make some plays for us," said Johnson.
The Express defense held Johnson City to just three made baskets in the second half, with the other points coming from the free-throw line. Elmira has now held opponents to 28, 29, 37 and 42 points its last four games, that have all resulted in wins.
"We preach defense all the time, our goal is to hold teams to 40 or under, we dont want to let them get double digits in any quarter," Johnson said. "When we play defense like that, we're very difficult to beat. If we can clean up some inconsistencies on the offensive end, I'm very excited about where we're going."
Mack finished with 10 made baskets and was 7-12 from the free-throw line after a 17-point effort 24 hours earlier against Corning. Dan Fedor also chipped in 11 points for the Express.
Hill led the Wildcats with 16 points and Harris registered 14 points.
With the win, Elmira improves to 9-5 and are 7-2 in STAC play while Johnson City falls to 7-7.
The Express will host Horseheads on Monday in its next game, with start time at 7:15 p.m.