Battling from the get-go, the Ross School boys basketball team, the Cosmos, took Bridgehampton’s Killer Bees to school at Ross’s well-appointed gym Monday night before a packed house, which was entertained as well by numerous and lively Ross and Bridgehampton cheerleaders.
For the Cosmos, who had to forfeit two games earlier in the season because of a self-reported eligibility mix-up, it was a must-win situation. The Bees had already clinched a playoff spot, though the prospect of eliminating their Class D rivals was nevertheless beguiling.
Before the game, Kelly McKee, Ross’s coach, called his five seniors out on the floor, where they were greeted by their parents. And they, Fuhito Yoshida, Liam Chaskey, Hayden Aldredge, Max Rowen, and Dylan Stilin, responded soon after by pounding the boards and hitting from inside and out on their way to a 58-48 victory, which left Ross, at 6-7, just one win shy of a playoff berth.
They were to have played at 2-11 Smithtown Christian yesterday, but McKee said a win was by no means assured, noting that “Smithtown Christian beat the Bees at home in overtime.”
Bridgehampton was to have finished up the regular season at the Beehive yesterday with league-leading Stony Brook, but a loss to the Bears (10-3 as of Tuesday) would have been moot given the fact the Bees were 7-6 going in.
After Ross’s heady win, McKee said he thought Bridgehampton and Ross would play at a neutral site either tomorrow or Saturday to determine which team is to face Greenport (9-4 as of Tuesday) in the county Class D championship game Monday at 4 p.m. at Suffolk Community College-Selden. The seeding meeting, McKee said, is to be held this morning. “That’s when we’ll find out what’s going to happen,” he said.
It’s a perfect storm insofar as these three playoff-bound teams are concerned. The Bees and Ross have split wins; the Bees and Greenport have split wins, and though Greenport has two wins over Ross, the first, on Dec. 12, was by forfeit, and the second, on Jan. 27, was by 1 point.
Getting back to Monday’s game, Bridgehampton, which trailed 28-20 at the half, looked as if it might come back when Roosevelt Odidi, one of Ross’s two big men, was forced to the sidelines after committing his fourth foul two minutes into the period.
With Odidi looking on from the bench, Josh Lamison, whom he had fouled, canned both free throws, for 28-24, and after Yoshida came up empty following a timeout, Caanan Campbell, Bridgehampton’s star, hit a 3-pointer for 28-27.
Moments later, Campbell swatted the ball away from Aldredge, who was trying to put up a shot underneath, but was called for a foul, and Aldredge, who is a great rebounder but not a great foul-shooter, made his second try for 29-27.
And so it went. With about four minutes remaining in the quarter, Rowen and Chaskey knocked down successive 3s from the left corner to reassert Ross’s margin, but the Bees, by virtue of Campbell’s drive around Aldredge and a 3 by Jason Hopson, pulled to within a basket once again. Going into the fourth quarter, the game was still up in the air, with the Cosmos nursing a 40-37 lead.
Odidi re-entered the game at this point, and before a minute had elapsed, Ross, first with Odidi and then with Yoshida, cashed in on two fast-break layups, prompting Carl Johnson, Bridgehampton’s coach, to call for a timeout.
Once play resumed, Tylik Furman, the Bees’ eighth-grade guard, drove the baseline for 44-39, but Aldredge replied, driving into the paint and dumping off to Odidi for 46-39. The Bees were not able to get any closer after that.
Campbell was the sole Bee in double figures, with 21. For Ross, Odidi had 19, Chaskey, 15, and Yoshida, 11.