By Benito Vila
There’ll be no welcome mat for the Ross School varsity basketball team as they come into the Bridgehampton School tomorrow evening. Their hosts, the Killer Bees, are hoping to pack their cozy home court, commonly called “The Hive”, with black-and-yellow clad fans for a 5 p.m. tip-off.
At 6-5 in league play, the Killer Bees are just one win away from clinching a playoff showdown with Greenport on Saturday, February 20 in Longwood for the Suffolk Class D title. After the 4-7 Ravens, the Bridgehampton schedule has a date at 9-2 Stony Brook and a home finale against 2-9 Pierson.
The Whalers made their way back into the win column last Friday, protecting their home court in a 61-50 victory over Ross. That match-up was closely played until late in the third quarter when the Pierson boys Pierson went on a 10-2 run to take control of the contest.
Given the Ravens sharp outside shooting the outcome was still in question until Pierson’s Skyler Loesch hit a pair of free throws with 1:26 left to put his team up, 54-45. Another pair of Loesch free throws with 49 second remaining all but finished the affair, leaving the Ravens down eight, at 57-49.
The Ravens woes continued Tuesday, Stony Brook coming to Ross and stealing away with a 74-49 win. With only Bridgehampton, 11-0 Southold and 8-3 Greenport left on the schedule, the odds are against Ross increasing its win total, a 3-0 start now a bit like a dream.
A New Spark
The Killer Bees meanwhile have overcome an 0-2 start and played the top of the league tough while managing to outscore the bottom of the league by an average of 30 points. That success was nearly the team’s undoing on Shelter Island Tuesday, the Indians taking a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It was at that point that Bridgehampton coach Carl Johnson adjusted his defense, newcomer Jason Hopson turning turnovers into points and leading the Killer Bees on a 37-15 run. “Once our guys realized Shelter Island was there to play, we got fired up. In the second quarter, we started hitting our shots and it all started clicking. Changing the defense on them and being able to execute when we had chances made the difference.”
Ainsley Wyche led the Killer Bees with 16 points. Cesar Banados added 15, with Nate Hochstedler tossing in nine, Evan Marzan eight and Hopson eight. Jamal Hires closed out the Bridgehamton scoring with six points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
Seven Whalers Score
The Pierson boys saw their win streak stopped at one in Greenport Tuesday, the Porters posting up a 66-29 lead before the Whalers closed on them late in a 68-38 final.
Using all of his reserves in the second half, Pierson coach Christian Johns saw players gain valuable on-court experience and learn on-the-go. Seven Whalers scored in all, led by Tyler Gilbride with 17 points. Seamus Doyle dropped in seven, Luke Kirrane five and Steven early three. Loesch and Sam Miller each had two.