Things have been going swimmingly for the East Hampton High School boys and girls basketball teams thus far.
The boys, 5-0 over all as of Tuesday, had a big win at Mount Sinai Friday, besting the Mustangs, who have a 6-foot-8-inch Division 1-bound center, 65-63.
The same evening, the girls improved their overall record to 5-1 (and to 2-0 in league competition) with a 42-23 win here over their Mount Sinai counterparts. Kaelyn Ward needed 26 points in that game to become the first East Hampton female basketball player ever to tally 1,000 career points, but wound up 7 shy. She got a bouquet of long-stemmed roses anyway.
The boys customarily do well each year, but it’s been a long time indeed since the girls, who are coached by Howard Wood and Louis O’Neal, have fared so well. The reason, of course, is Ward, though, as has often been said, she can’t do it alone. In Friday’s game, she got considerable help from her teammates, on the boards and scoring-wise. Jackie Messemer and Carley Seekamp — who, along with Courtney Dess and Ryan Ward, rebounded well — each finished with 8 points. Ward led the way with 19. In addition, Messemer had two blocks and Seekamp had one.
“But the best thing,” Kaelyn’s father said afterward, “is that she made the high honor roll — she’s proud of that.”
“I look for us to make the playoffs,” he added.
Mount Sinai, while energetic — and despite the fact that it had been putting up 50 or so points per game recently — couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn door, especially in the early going. A 16-3 second quarter, during which Kaelyn Ward scored 6 points, Messemer 4, Dess 2, Ryan Ward 2, and Seekamp 2, did the visitors in.
Ward was loudly applauded when Wood took her out with 20 seconds left to play, after which Fran Schelfhout, who had come off the bench, capped the scoring with a 2-pointer.
The girls aren’t to play again until Jan. 3. Wood, who will visit his wife, Maria, and their children, Dennis, 18, and Luz, 11, in Barcelona, Spain, over the Christmas break, said he hopes to schedule scrimmages with Southampton, Ross, and Pierson during the idle period. “We still need to do a lot of work,” he said. “For starters, we need to protect the ball a little more. . . . It would be great to make the playoffs and great to have a home game. Meanwhile, we’ve got to put the pedal to the metal.”
As for the boys, Bill McKee, who is assisted by Bob Vacca, reported over the weekend that “it was really good to get that win Friday at Mount Sinai. The kids were happy, and so was I.”
The team, which had been slow off the mark in recent games, jumped out to a 27-12 first-quarter lead as Thomas King (2), Danny McKee (2), and Thomas Nelson hit from 3-point range. “It was our best quarter of the season,” the elder McKee said.
But the home team got back in it as the result of a 20-2 run spanning the second and third periods. “We were up 53-47 going into the fourth. . . . We hit three of our last four foul shots to hold on for the win. They had a chance to tie in the last minute, but Rolando [Garces] came up with a big defensive rebound.”
King finished with 24 points, and Nelson and McKee with 12 each. Mount Sinai’s big man had a game-high 30, “but he was the only one in double figures for them. As I said, it was a big win for us. We went down by 1 or 2 several times in the third quarter, but wrested the lead back each time. The kids kept working.”
In another recent game, King had 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists as East Hampton defeated Pierson, a nonleague opponent, 65-54.
The boys were to have played Miller Place, another league opponent, here yesterday. They are to play in a holiday invitational tournament at Southampton, along with Bridgehampton and the Dalton School of New York City, this weekend, beginning tomorrow with Dalton at 6 p.m. Saturday’s consolation game is to be played at 9 a.m., with the final to follow at 11.