By Dan Arritt     1/27/2017

The player who scored a school record 42 points earlier this season had netted just four at the half. The one who broke another school record with nine 3-point baskets in a game hadn’t made a field goal from anywhere on the court through the first two quarters.

How did that affect Chris Williams? Not one bit.

The Orange Lutheran senior didn’t hesitate the next time he was ever-so-slightly open, calmly sinking a deep 3-pointer early in the third quarter against visiting St. John Bosco, giving the Lancers the lead for good in the 59-49 victory in their second Trinity League game.

“There’ve been nights where he hasn’t shot well, and our guys still want to get him the ball,” said Orange Lutheran coach Chris Nordstrom. “They know he’s still our guy.”

Williams was just one of the guys the last two seasons, but two of the top four scorers graduated and the other transferred, putting a wide load of responsibilities on his shoulders this winter.

That’s just fine with Williams.

“You’ve got to play for the team, not just yourself,” he said after finishing with 13 points against St. John Bosco. “As you start playing for the team, it’s easy to make shots because they start trusting you more.”

Of course, nothing’s more important than scoring, and Williams didn’t waste any time doing more of that this season, producing 42 points in the second game this season. The 6-foot-3 guard came into the St. John Bosco game averaging 20.4 points, struggled early on but ultimately scored nine of his 13 points in the decisive second half.

“You know you have to score for your team to be successful,” Williams said. “It’s easy to keep that confidence knowing that you have the coach and the rest of the players behind you.”

Williams played at Moreno Valley High School as a freshman and then transferred to Orange Lutheran, where he was the fourth-leading scorer as a sophomore on one of the most successful teams in school history, one that finished 24-6 and 8-2 in the Trinity League.

That team was led by seniors Rogers Printup, Keisean Lucier-South and CJ Hankins, making it easy for Williams to keep a low profile.

“When he first got here as a sophomore, he never talked,” Nordstrom said. “I didn’t know he had a voice.”

He was one of a handful of returners on last season’s team and they, too, managed to beat everyone in league play except Mater Dei. Williams led the team in scoring and was a first-team all-Trinity League selection, making him a big mark this season, especially with the newcomers around him.

Nordstrom said Williams has handled the increased attention, both from his young teammates and the opposition, incredibly well.

“He’s really stepped up and been a leader,” Nordstrom said. “Everybody’s keying on him every night.”

Williams showed his confidence and determination in late December, when he combined to shoot 4-for-25 from 3-point distance during a three-game stretch at a tournament in San Diego, then returned home and made 9-of-13 from beyond the arc against Westminster to establish another school record.

“If you’re not making shots, you have to forget about it,” Williams said. “Take it to the basket, pass it to your teammates. … Whatever you have to do to win.”

It’s a recipe Williams seems to have mastered.