The Ross School’s 69-68 win over Smithtown Christian Saturday, by virtue of Jiahui Guo’s short jumper from the corner with six seconds left, kept the 4-5 Cosmos on a playoff pace.
Earlier in the week, Ross lost 53-44 to league-leading Pierson, but Dan White, the Whalers’ coach, said that “it was a close game — it was tied with five minutes left. . . . Ross, Southold, Stony Brook, and my team should make the Class C playoffs, but that’s getting a little too far ahead. One step at a time.”
Leo Cheng finished with 30 points for Ross, 8 of which were scored in the 16-16 fourth quarter, while Guo ended up with 20. Dan Okin, a tough inside player, had 10 rebounds for Kevin O’Halloran’s team.
The East Hampton boys also kept their playoff hopes alive last week, avenging themselves at Shoreham-Wading River 46-29 after having dropped a 52-50 decision at Bayport-Blue Point.
“The first time we played Shoreham we had an open shot at the end that didn’t go in,” East Hampton’s coach, Bill McKee, said during a conversation at his Biddy basketball practice Saturday morning. “This time we played very good defense, and offensively Danny [McKee’s son, the senior point guard] controlled the tempo of the game, settling us down.”
Looking at the scorebook, the elder McKee said, “Danny had 9 points, 4 assists, and no turnovers. Brendan [Hughes] and Thomas [Nelson] controlled the boards. Thomas finished with 12 rebounds; Brendan had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle [McKee’s other son, a sophomore] had 19 points.”
That win improved East Hampton to 3-4. “We need three more wins in the five games that are left, four of which will be played at home,” said the coach.
Amityville, one of the best teams in the county, is to play here today, at 4:30 p.m. Elwood-John Glenn, the league runner-up to Amityville, is to play here Saturday at 11 a.m.
“Amityville has no weak spots,” said McKee. “I think we can play better than we did the last time against them if we shoot well and if we can handle their pressure.”
As for Glenn, “We’re a better defensive team than when we played them the first time. . . . It will take a good defensive game on our part to beat them.”
Then come league games with Mount Sinai (Jan. 31), Miller Place (Feb. 4), and Bayport-Blue Point (Feb. 7). A nonleaguer is to be played at Eastport-South Manor on Feb. 1. The league finale, with Bayport, is to be played here, on Feb. 7, as aforesaid, at 6 p.m.
Concerning the disappointing loss at Bayport on Jan. 14, McKee said, “We only shot 36.4 percent from the field, and only 10 of our 20 baskets were assisted. We had 17 baskets and 14 assists at Shoreham-Wading River. That means we were moving the ball around.”
On the other hand, he said, “We still need to play quicker. We were up 29-17 at the break, but we only scored 17 points in the second half.”
Further on the Bayport game, McKee said, “We were down by 12 going into the fourth quarter and our kids battled and battled. We had a decent shot at the end that could have won it for us, but it didn’t drop. . . . I didn’t say to go for a 3-pointer, I just said to work it around for the best shot. It hit the rim, bounced around, and went out.”
As he spoke, about 50 youngsters were dashing up and down the John M. Marshall Elementary School’s court under Hayden Ward’s watchful eye — a veritable nursery of talent that in time will make it up to the high school. At the edge of the court, varsity and junior varsity players were having fun dunking in an eight-and-a-half-foot-high basket.
“Coach Petrie began Biddy basketball here in 1969,” said McKee, who now oversees the popular program. “I began playing here Saturday mornings when I was an eighth grader.”
Later that morning, East Hampton’s girls team lost 59-32 to Elwood-John Glenn, which, as a result, improved to 8-0 in league play. East Hampton dropped to 1-7 and thus out of playoff contention.
Still, at times, the Bonackers, as their coach, Howard Wood, has been saying, looked as if they were every bit Glenn’s equal.
The first quarter ended with the visitors leading 12-11. A disastrous second quarter, during which Glenn went on a 15-0 run, followed, but the home team again gave as good as it got in the third before repeated unforced turnovers plagued the team in the fourth.
“Honestly,” said Wood, whose team also lost last week to Shoreham-Wading River, “we’re a year away — not to discredit our seniors, but we really are . . . if we can convince these girls to put in the time in the off-season.”