It was a star-crossed season for Bridgehampton High School’s Killer Bees, made all the more evident when, early in the second quarter of a semifinal boys basketball playoff game at Greenport on Feb. 12, their sophomore center, Josh Lamison, who’s arguably the league’s most dominant player, went down with a severely sprained ankle.
“A kid stepped on his [left] foot in setting a pick after the ball had been passed into the corner, and he rolled his ankle,” Bridgehampton’s coach, Carl Johnson, said Thursday morning. “He’s getting it X-rayed today.”
“It was a shame that our season had to end like that,” one of Johnson’s assistants, Joe Zucker, said. “Had we been healthy this year, I think we could have made a legitimate run at a state championship.”
The 6-foot-1-inch Lamison, who has, according to Johnson, “the reach of a 6-4 player,” had been averaging 20 points and 13 rebounds per game going into Friday’s showdown with the Porters. He finished the night with 11 points and a handful of rebounds, though it was a testament to his grit that, after having been ministered to in the remaining six minutes of the second quarter and during the break, he came back, obviously in pain, and limping, to play the entire second half, though his effectiveness was, as Johnson told sportswriters following the disappointing 55-52 loss, “maybe 45 percent of what it normally would be.”
It’s a credit to the injury-plagued Bees that they kept it as close as they did. A long 3-pointer by the sophomore point guard, Tylik Furman, that swished through the nets as he fell back upon the floor, brought the Bees to within 1 point of the Porters, at 49-48, with 2:34 to play, cueing an uproar by the team’s fans and chanting cheerleaders on Bridgehampton’s side of the gym.
With the score unchanged, Jerome Walker, one of the Bees’ seniors, missed a 3-point attempt with 1:27 to go. Greenport rebounded and then stuck a dagger in the Bees’ heart as Brian Tuthill, who’d come off Greenport’s bench, sank a 3 of his own, to wild acclaim.
Tuthill’s bomb treated the Porters to a 52-48 lead. Lamison, after receiving a pass inside from Furman, got 2 back with 50 seconds left, drawing a foul as he did so, but he didn’t convert the free throw.
Gavin Dibble, the Porters’ senior point guard, made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 25.8 seconds remaining, for a 54-50 lead. Furman, fouled as he went to retrieve his missed 3, converted two shots from the foul line for 54-52.
With 15.3 seconds showing, Walker fouled a Porter guard, Ameer Brunson. Brunson missed the front end of the 1-and-1. Furman came up with the rebound and dashed down the court where, with 6.9 seconds to go, he put up a one-handed runner in the lane that — sadly for Bees fans — was blocked by Willie Riggins, who, amid the cheering and shouting of Greenport partisans, was subsequently fouled. With 5.3 seconds left, Riggins made the front end, for 55-52, though he missed his second attempt, presenting the Bees, following successive timeouts by Greenport and Bridgehampton, a chance to tie.
But Anajae Lamb’s heave in the final tick was way off the mark. Greenport had won.
The next day, however, Johnson was upbeat in looking toward the near future. He would have his top three scorers — Lamison, Furman (18 p.p.g.), and the freshman Elijah Jackson (12 p.p.g.), who recently suffered a foot stress fracture — back next year, along with a supporting cast.
And, by that, presumably, he didn’t mean a foot boot.
“I’ve been telling people if you don’t get us now, you won’t in the next two years,” the Bees’ coach — who has won three state championships as a player and three as a coach — said in signing off.