25 Years Ago in Bonac Sports 01.16.14

Local sports history
Kenny Wood (44) and his East Hampton teammates were to go on to win a state championship 25 years ago, in 1989. Jack Graves

January 5, 1989:
    Everybody, for the first time this season, got in the act as the East Hampton High School boys basketball team defeated Southampton 76-73 in the League Seven opener here on Tuesday.

    It wasn’t just Kenny Wood, East Hampton’s all-Long Island center, this time.

    While Wood was the linchpin that kept Bonac rolling, he received ample help from David Hicks, Lance McDonald, Terrell Dozier, and Billy Barbour. An all-out team effort was the only way that East Hampton could have beaten the very talented and deep Southampton team that day.

January 12, 1989
    While snow fell Friday night, the action was fiery within the confines of the Beehive, Bridgehampton High School’s antiquated gymnasium, where the boys basketball teams of Bridgehampton and Southampton traded baskets in a tumultuous shoot-out that wasn’t decided until the last seconds.

    . . . With about 10 seconds left, Southampton’s Jake Harrison, who was untended, let a shot go from near the right sideline. It bounced off the rim into the hands of Bridgehampton’s point guard, Bobby Hopson, who, in turn, hit Duane White, the 6 foot 3 inch senior center, at the top of the Southampton key. White looked and found Joe Niles under the basket.

    “Last year,” said Joe’s father, John, the Bees’ coach, “Duane might have dribbled. This time, he made a great pass,” which Joe Niles coolly converted into the basket that was to make Bridgehampton a 92-90 winner.

     . . . While Bridgehampton’s bandbox gym lends itself to high-decibel excitement, Coach Niles hates it. “If my kids refused to play here, I wouldn’t mind at all,” he said afterward, declaring that the undersized gym presented numerous safety hazards for players.

    Spectators used to sit on the stage at the south end of the gym, but no longer, as players, from time to time, after making layups, careen onto it. On Friday, photographers too, for the first time, were banned from the stage.

    “It’s ridiculous that Bridgehampton hasn’t built a modern gym,” said Niles. “It’s typical of the narrow-minded thinking here.”

Carl Yastrzemski, the Bridgehampton-reared star of the Boston Red Sox, who retired from major league baseball on Oct. 2, 1983, after a 23-year career, was elected by the Baseball Writers Association as a member of the Hall of Fame on Monday. “Yaz,” who is 49, joins a select few who have been elected in their first year of eligibility.

. . . “It’s a great day for eastern Long Island,” said Hugh R. King, of East Hampton, who recalled hits of Mr. Yastrzemski’s soaring over his head as he played deep in right field behind the Bridgehampton School, which is to say “in the ruts” of Conklin’s potato field.

He also recalled the time Dennis Heaney, a Springs electrical contractor, once got two strikes on Yaz — “a remarkable feat” — at the Amagansett School diamond before the Bridgehampton slugger fetched one up against St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Miankoma Lane.

. . . He is the only American Leaguer to have more than 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
“Taking over Ted Williams’s spot was the toughest thing I had to do,” Mr. Yastrzemski said during a press conference in Manhattan on Tuesday. “It almost broke me, really. The first three months of the season I really didn’t know if I could play in the big leagues or not.”
He also said he regretted not being able to lead his teammates to a World Series victory, but Johnny Bench, the 41-year-old former Cincinnati Reds’ catcher, who also was elected Monday, said that by being named to the Hall of Fame Mr. Yastrzemski had “won his championship.”

. . . Claude Beudert, of East Hampton, an avid Red Sox fan, “as avid at least as those around me let me be,” celebrated the occasion by drinking coffee from a Red Sox mug.
Mr. Beudert, who was at Fenway Park on “Yaz Day,” when Mr. Yastrzemski circled the bases there for the last time, said, “I’m really glad that he got in. It would be nice if they finally named something in Bridgehampton after him . . . the street [School Street] he grew up on, for instance. I know he didn’t spend much time here, but the place where you grow up is special.”

    As of Tuesday’s 79-55 win at Center Moriches, Kenny Wood, the much-recruited 6 foot 5 inch senor center of the East Hampton High School boys basketball team, needs only 13 more points to break the all-time Long Island scoring record (2,117 points) held by Al Edwards, Greenport’s coach, who played for that school between 1968 and 1972.

    . . . During a Channel 12 interview, East Hampton’s coach, Ed Petrie, said that Wood was eminently coachable, and he has the potential to play some day in the N.B.A.

    Both Bill Barbour and Terrell Dozier praised their teammate for his talent and unselfish play. Barbour said Wood was “the best guy I’ve ever met.”

    Mrs. Wood said her son’s college decision was “up to him,” and when asked which of her sons — Kenny’s older brother, Howard, plays professional basketball in Barcelona, Spain — was the better player, she smiled, and left the question hanging.

January 26, 1989
    The Killer Bees were eviscerated 85-70 in the Beehive Tuesday afternoon by the East Hampton Bonackers, who, as a result, attained sole possession of first place among the boys basketball teams in League Seven.

    . . . “If they continue to play the way they played against us,” John Niles, Bridgehampton’s coach, said, “they’ll go a long way.”

    Though badminton is thought to have originated in India or China, it takes its name from Badminton, the Gloucestershire estate of the Duke of Beaufort, according to the Columbia Encyclopedia. Some of the rules bear the unmistakable illogic of the Sceptered Isle.

    Perhaps the same person who decided that the first two points in tennis should be worth 15 points each, while the next one is worth 10, and the next one wins the game, unless the other player has the same number and so on, wrote the rules for badminton.

    . . . Dick Baker said the bizarre rules were a small price to pay for what he thinks is the perfect workout. Anyone who thinks badminton requires scones, tea, and petticoats ought to come to the Amagansett gym on Wednesday evenings, Mr. Baker said.     Jack Otter