East Hampton High School’s boys and girls basketball teams are to begin the playoffs this week, with the sixth-seeded boys playing at third-seeded Islip at 5 p.m. today, and with the fifth-seeded girls playing at fourth-seeded Islip tomorrow at the same time.
There are eight teams in the boys’ Class A bracket, six in the girls’ bracket. Top-seeded Amityville lies in wait for the boys’ four-versus-five winner. Should the Bonackers win today, they would probably be paired with the second seed, Harborfields, Tuesday. The winner of tomorrow’s girls game would play at the top A seed’s gym Tuesday.
Both the boys and the girls finished the regular season with 7-5 league records. The boys wound up tied with Bayport-Blue Point for second place behind 12-0 Amityville; the girls finished third, behind Shoreham-Wading River and Elwood-John Glenn, which both went 11-1.
The Class A boys final is to be played at Longwood High School on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 2:30 p.m. The A girls final is to be played Friday, Feb. 22, at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue at 7 p.m.
The Class D boys final is to be contested today at 4 p.m. at Westhampton Beach High School. A Class C boys outbracket game was to have been played at Pierson Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the final at Westhampton Beach today at 6:30 p.m.
The boys C-D game is to be played Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at a site yet to be determined.
Bonac’s teams ended the season this past week on up notes as the boys, coached by Bill McKee, edged Bayport-Blue Point by 1 point, and as the girls, matched against their Bayport-Blue Point peers here, won out 40-33 after an early 19-10 lead vanished.
While happy with the final outcome — “you always want momentum going into the playoffs” — Howard Wood, the girls’ coach, continues to lament the fact that “they’re not listening. We tell them in a timeout not to foul, and they go out and foul. We tell them to take time off the clock, and they throw it up. I don’t know what it is. . . .”
That the girls had entered the game knowing they’d already qualified for the postseason, thanks to a win at Amityville, may have had something to do with their second-quarter swoon, during which the Phantoms went on an 11-0 run and grabbed the lead, but in the second half they were to revive, especially Courtney Dess, one of the team’s two seniors, who, said Wood, scored 7 of her 9 points in the fourth quarter. “Courtney’s clutch shooting and our defense, which held them to 1 point, put us over the top.”
Kaelyn Ward, the other senior, whom Wood has coached five years on the varsity, finished with 19 points, Jackie Messemer had 10, and Carley Seekamp gathered in 15 rebounds.
As for Ward, who going into this week had 1,135 career points, Wood, who totaled 1,232 in his career here in the 1970s, said, “She’ll catch me if we go to the states.”
Ward scored 32 points in the game at Amityville on Feb. 5, a game that East Hampton won 63-55. “A couple more free throws,” Wood said, “and she would have broken East Hampton’s single-game record of 35” set some years ago by Amanda Brown.
Bill McKee, the boys’ coach, said, “We played a really good first half at Bayport. We were up 25-15 at the break, and to hold them to 15 was really pretty good. They’ve been averaging 60 points a game. So, over all, we did very well defensively.”
“We had trouble scoring in the second half, however, but a nice backdoor pass from Brendan Hughes to Thomas Nelson, who made a layup in the final eight seconds that put us up 46-45, clinched it. Bayport came down the court, but they didn’t get a good shot off.”
“It was a game that was typical of our season. We’ve had eight close ones, four that went to overtime and four that have been decided by 4 or fewer points.”
As for the playoffs, said McKee, “Anything can happen! There should be some more close games.”