By Gavin Menu
Bridgehampton’s run through the Suffolk County boys basketball tournament ended over the weekend and now much more serious business can begin.
The Class D county champion Killer Bees, who lost, 45-34, to Babylon in the Class B-C-D final on Saturday, will play the next leg of the New York State tournament Wednesday, March 6 at Center Moriches High School, where they will face the winner from Section IX, representing Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties, at 5 p.m.
The winner there will advance to play the winner from Section I, representing Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties, in a state regional final on March 10 at a site to be determined later, but within the boundaries of Section I. The winner from that game will advance to the state final four in Glens Falls, New York, a site all too familiar to Bridgehampton head coach Carl Johnson.
“We’re doing our little workouts, going over our offense and working on sets against certain defenses,” Johnson said when asked how his team would spend the long layoff between games. “Most of the teams we might have to play that I’ve seen so far play zone, so we’re working on a 2-3 zone, a 3-2 zone, that’s what I’ve seen most.”
Johnson, who has won six state titles at Bridgehampton as a player and coach, traveled over the weekend to watch Eldred High School knock off the top seed from Section IX, Chapel Field Christian Academy.
Eldred faced John A. Coleman High School last night, February 27, to decide who would advance to face Bridgehampton next Wednesday.
“Both teams I saw had very weak guard play,” Johnson said. “And that was from the top seed. I would say Chapel Field was maybe a step above Smithtown Christian. I don’t know much about Coleman.”
Bridgehampton beat Smithtown Christian twice this season, most recently by 31 points in January. But that is not to say the team’s confidence is automatically sky high going into the state tournament, where there is the potential for much more difficult opposition upstate, such as defending Class D state champion Sackets Harbor, from Section III, and Argyle Central, the top-ranked Class D team in the state, which took a perfect 19-0 record into the Class D postseason.
While the Bees and other schools wait for the state tournament to resume next week, the overall Suffolk County (Section XI) tournament is set to be decided tomorrow, March 1, with Northport, the Class AA champion, and Amityville, the Small Schools champion, facing off at Ward Melville High School.
Earlier in the tournament, Bridgehampton knocked off Class C winner Stony Brook, 54-41, in the C-D game on February 20, although the Bears were without senior point guard Marco Masakayan, who was out with an injury.
Bridgehampton senior Jason Hopson led the Bees against Stony Brook with 26 points and 13 rebounds.
“Jason is really focused right now,” Johnson said about his senior forward, who can actually play any position on the floor. “He doesn’t want to lose at this point in his career.”
Hopson was held to 11 points against Babylon, the champion from Class B, which has strong guard play and two towering 6’10 forwards. Still, the Bees stayed with Babylon for much of the game, aside from a 12-4 second quarter that proved to be the difference maker.
“In the first quarter we played just as well as we did against Stony Brook but in the second quarter we had nine turnovers,” Johnson said. “So even though we made our runs, they are a good team and it was too much to overcome. With that kind of size, it presents a problem, but looking down the road there’s nobody with that kind of size.”
For Bridgehampton, “down the road” leads to Center Moriches this Wednesday night.