By Benito Vila
Friday was a day to forget on the scoreboard for the Bridgehampton, Ross, and Pierson boys’ varsity basketball teams. All three schools lost games by margins that no player wants to see, the Killer Bees losing by seven to Greenport, 54-47, the Ravens by seven to Shelter Island, 68-61 and the Whalers by 52 to Southold, 80-28.
The slim margin against the Porters turns missed shots and missed stops into chances given away, the Killer Bees allowing a W to become an L. The loss to the Indians leaves the Ravens that much farther removed from their 3-0 start, the Ross boys now 4-5 on the season, with Pierson up next eager out to avenge an early season loss and the top of the league coming after that.
The Whalers, meanwhile, at 1-8, must be wondering what has gone so wrong for them, an athletic hard-working team struggling to get the ball up-court and into the net. It’s a tough game to win without experienced ball handlers and proven shooters, the mostly underclassmen team learning as-they-go.
But there’s no way the Pierson boys are giving into making excuses for their shortcomings or even suggesting that a won-loss record is more an indication of the quality of your opponent than it is the quality of your own team; these boys want to win, and with Ross, Greenport, Stony Brook, Bridgehampton and Smithtown Christian coming up, the Whalers are sure to surprise someone before the season is out.
High school mid-terms pushed off all competition on the court this week, every local team going back to the basics in practice with players hopefully banging the books in school and at home.
Ross comes into Pierson Friday for a 6:15 p.m. start, looking to sweep the season series and add to the Whalers woes. The Whalers are hoping to be less generous as hosts than they were as visitors.
In their first match-up, Pierson turnovers and traveling calls left Ross with extra possessions that the Raven shooters, Liam Chaskey, Brendan Pettaway and Fuhito Yoshiba turned into quick points, both from the floor and from the line.
Never before had a Ross boys basketball team ever beaten a Pierson one and the bedlam on the Ross court afterwards was something Ravens fans will remember for a long time to come.
Crusaders, Indians and Ravens
Now having lost to the three top teams in the league by a collective 23 points, the Bridgehampton boys are out to win their next three to clinch a playoff spot.
There’s not a sport in the world where wins are automatic, but the Killer Bees cruised past their next three opponents, Smithtown Christian, Shelter Island and Ross, the first time around by a margin of 204-104. Those three are currently a collective 8-19, the common expectation being that Bridgehampton will come through those three games unscathed and playoff-bound.
Nothing Comes Easy
The Ravens saw their game against the Indians get away late, a one-point, 45-44 lead turning into a long lost dream, when Shelter Island came back to defend their home court with a 25-point fourth quarter. Despite the foul shooting of Pettaway, who was 18-for-25 at the line in totaling 33 points, the Ravens couldn’t keep pace and ended up with the long ride back on the ferry.
Whalers, Bees, Ravens
After hosting Ross Friday, the Pierson boys go to Greenport next Tuesday before coming back to play Stony Brook at home next Friday at 6:15 p.m. The Whalers finish their schedule on the road against Smithtown Christian February 8 and Bridgehampton February 10.
Bridgehampton has Smithtown Christian in Friday at 5 p.m. and goes to Shelter Island next Tuesday, with Ross in “the Hive” next Friday at 5 p.m. An away game at Stony Brook, February 8, and a home game against Pierson, February 10, ends the Killer Bees regular season.
Ross has Stony Brook in next Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and heads to Bridgehampton next Friday. Southold comes in February 8 and Greenport awaits on February 10.
In describing the difference in his team’s 46-26 win over Southold on Friday, Whaler JV coach Jonathan Tortorella said, “We played four quarters of disciplined basketball. We moved the ball around on offense, worked for good shots and valued every offensive possession. On the defensive end, we were very consistent all game. It was one of our better defensive efforts of the season.”
“Patrick Sloane was matched up on their best scorer and did a very solid job. Jake Bennett, Joe Butts and Michael Heller shot very well and gave us a lift offensively. Hunter Leyser and Jackson Marienfeld did a tremendous job running the offense and making smart decisions.”
Bennett had twelve points and Heller ten to lead the young Whalers.