By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller
Young, inexperienced and setback by injuries and sickness, the Bridgehampton boys basketball team struggled to start the League VIII season and lost its opening four games.
But with the dynamic sophomore duo of Tylik Furman and Josh Lamison back at full strength, the Killer Bees earned their first win of the league season on Tuesday with a convincing 60-41 win over Shelter Island, which has been more competitive this season than in years past.
Furman, who has recovered from an early-season knee injury, scored 20 points, while Lamison put up a double-double with 20 rebounds and 13 points. Elijah Jackson, a freshman who has been a pleasant surprise for the Bees so far, finished with a game-high 21 points.
Bridgehampton improved to 1-4 in league play and 2-5 overall while Shelter Island dropped to 2-4.
Bridgehampton senior Jerome Walker missed Tuesday’s game with the flu, and also sat out Monday’s 57-47 loss to Southold, a game that was close until the final two minutes, when Southold pulled away against the Bees’ exhausted starting five.
It was Tuesday’s win, however, that was of particular importance since Shelter Island is a fellow Class D school, along with Greenport, Ross and Smithtown Christian, schools Bridgehampton will have to play well against in order to qualify for the postseason. Generally a .500 record is required to compete in the playoffs, but exemptions are often granted based on a team’s performance against schools of similar size.
“I think we have the talent to do it, I just don’t know if we have the experience,” Bridgehampton head coach Carl Johnson said when asked if his team has the ability to repeat as Suffolk County Class D champions, adding that Tuesday’s win against Shelter Island was a good first step.
“We finally got Tylik back and he looked good against East Rockaway,” Johnson said, referring to the Bees’ first win of the season back on December 21, which was the last time the team played before Monday’s meeting with Southold. “Then we had that two weeks of nothing over the break and that set us back again.”
Bridgehampton will play another big game on the road tomorrow, January 10, at 6:15 p.m. against longtime Class D rival Greenport before returning home for a game against the Knox School on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
“Everyone’s pretty decent this year,” Johnson said about the competition in League VIII, adding that “anyone can get beaten on any given night.
“Pierson beat Stony Brook, then Southold comes in and beats Pierson and then Southold goes and loses to Ross,” Johnson continued with a laugh. “It’s wide open. We’re going to have to steal some games away from home and we’ll see what happens.”