Whalers in the Van, Bonackers Trailing

“we’re doing all right — we had a good week, with wins over Shelter Island, Greenport, and Knox. . . . Southold, Stony Brook, and us should make the playoffs.”
Bill McKee, who coaches Bonac’s boys basketball team, says the inside play of Thomas Nelson (23), reaching for the ball at right, and Brendan Hughes (22) continues to improve. Craig Macnaughton

    Pierson (Sag Harbor) High School’s boys and girls basketball teams were leading their leagues as of Monday, the Whaler boys, who won three games last week, with a 6-1 record, and the girls with a mark of 4-1.

    Both teams are Class C-enrollment schools in the sport.

    The boys’ coach, Dan White, said during a conversation over the weekend that “we’re doing all right — we had a good week, with wins over Shelter Island, Greenport, and Knox. . . . Southold, Stony Brook, and us should make the playoffs.”

    And maybe the Ross School too, for that team, coached by Kevin O’Halloran (whose son, Kelly, coaches the Cosmos’ jayvee), which defeated Knox 66-33 at home Saturday — a win that improved its league record to 3-3 — is playing hard.

    “We’re young,” O’Halloran said after that win, “and a lot of kids were missing over the break — our point guard lives in L.A., one of our kids lives in Germany, and another one in China — though we’re definitely competitive. We lost two games [to Smithtown Christian and Shelter Island] at the end of December that we shouldn’t have.”

    Ross was to have played at Pierson Tuesday, is to play at Bridgehampton today, and will be home to Smithtown Christian this Saturday.

    The hoop news hasn’t been quite as good at East Hampton, where the boys team was 2-3 and the girls team 1-4 league-wise as of Monday.

    “If Thomas [Nelson] and Brendan [Hughes] keep playing as well as they have been under the boards, though, we ought to be all right,” Bill McKee, East Hampton’s coach, said following his team’s practice Sunday.

    East Hampton defeated Miller Place 42-19 and Mount Sinai 60-56 last week. The win over Mount Sinai was East Hampton’s third in a row.

    Hughes had 13 points and 12 rebounds in the Miller Place game — Nelson had 8 and 18 — and the two seniors controlled the boards at Mount Sinai as well.

    “Defensively, we did fine against Miller Place, though we didn’t play great on offense,” said McKee. “Miller Place was doubling the ball and we didn’t shoot particularly well. But holding them to 19 points was exceptional, especially considering they’d just come off a win over Shoreham-Wading River.”

    “We were leading 28-19 at the half at Mount Sinai, but they made two or three 3s at the end, which made the final score look closer than it was. We shot 17-for-19 from the foul line, and 10-for-12 from the line in the fourth quarter, which kept us comfortably ahead.”

    Kyle McKee, a sophomore, led the way with 19 points, Hughes had 11, Kyle’s older brother, Danny, the senior point guard, had 9, and Nelson and Kevin Fee, a freshman who came off the bench, each had 8. “I don’t have the rebounding stats with me, but Thomas and Brendan did a nice job on the boards. Brendan’s getting better and better, as are our two sophomores [Kyle McKee and Brandon Kennedy-Gay] and our freshman [Fee].”

    The boys were to have played at 3-2 Bayport-Blue Point Tuesday. The second half of the season is to begin today at Shoreham-Wading River.

    “It should be an exciting second half of the season,” said the elder McKee. “We’ll be playing a lot of home games . . . three or four in a row.”

    Following the East Hampton girls’ 36-33 nonleague loss to Westhampton Beach Saturday (a game in which Carley Seekamp scored 11 points), Howard Wood, the Bonackers’ coach, said he was at a loss to account for his team’s lackluster starts. “Why aren’t they getting it? I guess it’s me. We repeat it and repeat it. You can’t keep going east-west, you’ve got to go north-south. You’ve got to go strong to the basket, you’ve got to play tough. This is a physical game. If you don’t want contact, play tennis. . . . We’re rebounding on our tiptoes, and when we’re dribbling up the court with a girl at our side, we pull up rather than keep going to the basket. . . .”

    “We still have a chance for the playoffs, but we’ve got to win five of seven to do it. What bothers me is that these teams we’ve lost to aren’t any better than us — Amityville, Miller Place, and Westhampton are not better than us — but their girls all play in the spring, the summer, and the fall. So, we start off behind.”

    “I know we don’t have Courtney [Dess] or Kaelyn [Ward] anymore, but I don’t need a 20-point scorer. I just need girls who give me 100 percent in practice and in the games, from the get-go. We’re always going down 8-0 before we start to fight back. . . . And then there are the turnovers! We only had 20 this time.”

    Wood sighed, and, with a weary smile, said in parting, “Another one bites the frigging dust.”