By Andrew Rudansky
A new rivalry in League VIII fermented on Friday, January 17 at 4 p.m. in the Pierson High School gym when the Cosmos of Ross faced the Killer Bees of Bridgehampton in the first ever post season matchup between these two class D teams.
Bridgehampton’s traditional rivals in years past have always been the Pierson Whalers and the Greenport Porters, but after tonight they will have to add the Cosmos to their list of competitors to watch.
In the end it was Bridgehampton that triumphed, 72-62, but only after outlasting a determined Cosmos team in one of the most hard-fought games of the season.
Accurate shooting from Bridgehampton’s junior guard Jason Hopson and senior forward Caanan Campbell, combined with their ability to shutdown Ross’ star forward Hayden Aldredge led to a close win for the Killer Bees.
Ross’ senior point guard Fuhito Yoshida led the charge in the first half, cutting through the Bees defense and delivering layup after layup. Yoshida finished the game with 18 points after shooting a respectable 50 percent from the field. The speedy senior proved to be a menace for the Bees all game.
Yoshida was aided by senior shooting guard Liam Chaskey who led the Cosmos in scoring with 19 points. The two presented one of the most feared backcourts in League VIII in the regular season, leading their team to a 9-5 record. However, two of those wins were taken away from the team due to a technicality, leaving them with an official record of 7-7.
The Bees also finished the regular season with an official league record of 7-7.
Ross’ junior forward Roosevelt Odidi added 15 points, 11 rebounds and one steal in the Cosmos loss. Aldredge was kept relatively quiet with just 7 points, and 7 rebounds, a tepid game for the double-double machine.
Going into the locker room at the half, Ross had a small 36-31 lead on the Killer Bees. However when the teams returned to the court, it was the Bees who had all the energy.
The Bees offense exploded out of the break. The team was led by Hopson, who scored 15 of his 21 total points in the third quarter. The offensive specialist also finished the game with 9 assists, 6 rebounds, a game leading 4 steals, and a game leading 4 shots from behind the 3-point arc.
Campbell led the Bees in scoring with 23 points, making 9 of his 21 shots from the field. He also recorded 15 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1 steal in the contest.
Forward Josh Lamison finished with 10 points, Tylik Furman added 8, while Anajae Lamb finished with 8 from the bench, including 4 straight late-fourth quarter free throw attempts that helped seal the game for the Killer Bees.
The Bees initially surged ahead of the Cosmos on a series of turnovers by Hopson midway through the fourth quarter. In the end, the Cosmos had to foul the Bees onto the charity stripe just to stop the clock an give them a chance to come back. However, by the closing minute of regulation, the Cosmos were already down by double digits, well out of reach of the Bees.
Ross will have to wait till next year if they want to add a second Class D patch to their basketball trophy wall.
The Bees had a disappointing 2-12 season last year; but they have sprung back from the League VII cellar and are now set to appear in the Suffolk County Class D championship game. They will go on to face the first seed Greenport Porters for the championship game on Monday, February 20 at 4 p.m. at the Suffolk Community College campus in Selden.
With its second straight appearance in the Class D post season, it is safe to say that the Ross Cosmos have finally arrived in League VIII boys’ varsity basketball. With a newfound tradition of winning, the team will sure to be back in the hunt next year. It just so happens that that 2012 wasn’t their year.