Mixed Reviews for East Hampton Hoopsters

Thomas King (23) and his fellow Bonackers prevailed over Elwood-John Glenn before the Christmas break. Jack Graves

By Jack Graves­
    The East Hampton High School boys and girls basketball teams have received mixed reviews in the run-up to the meat of their seasons. Each team has had its moments — ones to remember and ones to forget.
    The girls and boys were each 1-1 in league play as of last Thursday.
    “We got blitzed by Glenn and Hampton Bays,” said one of the girls coaches, Louis O’Neal, whose team, which was 3-3 over all as of that day, practiced in the high school gym before the boys scrimmaged Southampton.
    “We get rattled too easily,” O’Neal said. “We were down by 4 points to Bellport [a nonleague opponent] at the half. We should have won that game, but we lost our focus and lost the game by 40. We always seem to have a quarter or two in which we don’t play — we drop balls, we miss assignments, we don’t box out, we don’t rebound, don’t capitalize on the turnovers our defense produces. . . . We don’t have the cohesion yet. We have to be more competitive against the bigger teams, the Glenns, the Bellports, the Westhamptons. . . .”
But, with younger players than last year, that may be hard to do. Kaelyn Ward, the junior point guard, has been drawing a lot of attention from the stronger teams East Hampton’s played, and, as a result, she’s been limited to 14 or so points when, ordinarily, she could be expected to finish in the mid to high 20s. And thus far, aside from the 12 points Jackie Messemer contributed in the first-round Hampton Bays tournament win over Shelter Island, no one else has wound up in double figures.
“We don’t have the personnel we had last year,” said O’Neal. “It’s been an uphill battle, we have to keep working. They’re still learning. We wanted them to play in the off-season — you can’t wait until the season begins to play. By then it’s too late.”
Still, he said, “we had a good practice today . . . things will get better.”
As for the boys, Bill McKee, their coach, said before scrimmaging Southampton, “We had a good win over Glenn and then we went out and didn’t play well at all against Greenport. They hit a shot in the last 10 seconds to go up by 1. We missed a shot at the buzzer. But we didn’t play well, we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t come ready to play.”
    Cameron Yusko’s four 3-pointers off the bench and East Hampton’s 12-for-17 foul shooting made the difference in the league opener with John Glenn here on Dec. 20.
    The Bonackers led 25-23 at the half, but an 11-4 spurt midway through the third, during which Yusko, Danny McKee, and Thomas Nelson hit 3-pointers, gave East Hampton, which led by 7 going into the fourth quarter, some breathing room.
    The visitors came back, however, in the fourth, during which the score was tied four times before in the final two minutes East Hampton, thanks to a layup by Juan Cuevas off an inbounds play, two free throws by McKee, two by Nelson, and two by Thomas King, put the game away. Glenn, following two misses underneath, managed to score on the third try at the buzzer for a 63-56 final.
    Before Monday morning’s practice, Coach McKee said that having the holiday week off had enabled the team to work on certain things, such as “making better decisions and finishing off around the basket.”
    The scrimmage with Southampton had been a good one (East Hampton “won” the first quarter 10-1), the coach said, “for both teams.”
    Asked how the rebounding was going in the absence of Patrick McGuirk, who is recovering from an appendectomy and is the team’s tallest starter at 6 feet 2 inches, McKee said, “We’ve been all right — our rebounding hasn’t killed us. Our Achilles heel has been finishing around the basket, that and, as I said, we need to make better decisions.”
    The boys are to play today at Bayport-Blue Point. Shoreham-Wading River is to play here Tuesday, at 6:15 p.m., and next Thursday East Hampton is to play at Amityville.
    As for the girls, who were to have been at home against Stony Brook Tuesday, Bayport-Blue Point plays here today, at 6:15 p.m., and this coming Tuesday Howard Wood and O’Neal’s team is to play at Shoreham-Wading River.
    “It’s all league games from here on in,” said McKee.had a good win over Glenn and then we went out and didn’t play well at all against Greenport. They hit a shot in the last 10 seconds to go up by 1. We missed a shot at the buzzer. But we didn’t play well, we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t come ready to play.”
    Cameron Yusko’s four 3-pointers off the bench and East Hampton’s 12-for-17 foul shooting made the difference in the league opener with John Glenn here on Dec. 20.
    The Bonackers led 25-23 at the half, but an 11-4 spurt midway through the third, during which Yusko, Danny McKee, and Thomas Nelson hit 3-pointers, gave East Hampton, which led by 7 going into the fourth quarter, some breathing room.
    The visitors came back, however, in the fourth, during which the score was tied four times before in the final two minutes East Hampton, thanks to a layup by Juan Cuevas off an inbounds play, two free throws by McKee, two by Nelson, and two by Thomas King, put the game away. Glenn, following two misses underneath, managed to score on the third try at the buzzer for a 63-56 final.
    Before Monday morning’s practice, Coach McKee said that having the holiday week off had enabled the team to work on certain things, such as “making better decisions and finishing off around the basket.”
    The scrimmage with Southampton had been a good one (East Hampton “won” the first quarter 10-1), the coach said, “for both teams.”
    Asked how the rebounding was going in the absence of Patrick McGuirk, who is recovering from an appendectomy and is the team’s tallest starter at 6 feet 2 inches, McKee said, “We’ve been all right — our rebounding hasn’t killed us. Our Achilles heel has been finishing around the basket, that and, as I said, we need to make better decisions.”
    The boys are to play today at Bayport-Blue Point. Shoreham-Wading River is to play here Tuesday, at 6:15 p.m., and next Thursday East Hampton is to play at Amityville.
    As for the girls, who were to have been at home against Stony Brook Tuesday, Bayport-Blue Point plays here today, at 6:15 p.m., and this coming Tuesday Howard Wood and O’Neal’s team is to play at Shoreham-Wading River.
    “It’s all league games from here on in,” said McKee.