Manning or No, Bees Are Ready

Local basketball fans will get a chance to see Bridgehampton in action tomorrow
Josh Lamison, who’s a senior this year, is expected to have a big year for the Killer Bees. Craig Macnaughton

Rumors were continuing to circulate earlier this week that Charles Manning might return to Bridgehampton, which, of course, would greatly strengthen that school’s boys basketball team, the Killer Bees, but Carl Johnson, the coach, said Tuesday morning he was operating under the assumption that Manning, who had much to do with the Bees’ state-championship run last winter, would remain at Long Island Lutheran, where he enrolled earlier this fall.

Meanwhile, Johnson said his team, already with four scrimmages under its belt, was improving and looking good.

“We didn’t do as well as I’d hoped,” he said, at a multiteam scrimmage Saturday at Center Moriches — along with Hempstead and Westhampton Beach — “but last night [Monday] we did very well in a scrimmage with Bayport, an A school that came very close last year to going upstate. We’re improving.”

Local basketball fans will get a chance to see Bridgehampton in action tomorrow in a Kendall Madison round-robin Tip-Off game with the Pierson Whalers at East Hampton’s gym at 5 p.m.

“It will be our first league game,” said Johnson. “We gave up our home court to play in the tournament, which, as you say, might not be to our advantage. On the other hand, you could also say our home court’s too small to accommodate the number of fans you’d expect to come out for a Bees-Whalers game.”

Johnson’s got four players back from his 2015 Class D state championship team — Josh Lamison, Tylik Furman, Elijah Jackson, and Matt Hostetter. Elijah Harding, a junior, whose uncle, J.P., was a formidable inside player for the Bees in years past, did not play last year, “but he’s coming along very well,” the coach said. “He’s a solid player.”

Hostetter, he said, has struggled a bit so far in the scrimmages, though he can get hot from the outside. Lamison, a 6-footer who has a long reach and is tough under the boards, continues to impress, as do Furman, the point guard, and his backcourt mate, Jackson. Jackson, a junior who was sidelined periodically last season with injuries, “has improved quite a bit.”

“I was really pleased with how we did with Bayport, though we ran out of steam at the end,” the coach said. “Josh was Josh, Tylik was shooting . . . and our defense was fairly good considering. . . . At Center Moriches we started out slow, but we held our own, even against Hempstead, which is athletic.”

Asked if he foresaw another championship season absent Manning, Johnson said he thought his charges were up to it. “They’ll definitely be good, and the more they play the more confident they’ll get.”

As aforesaid, the Bees and Pierson are to open the Kendall Madison tourney tomorrow at 5, with the home team, East Hampton, and Mattituck playing at 6:15.

On Saturday, the Bees and Mattituck are to play at 5, followed by East Hampton at Pierson at 6:15. 

A youth basketball tournament sponsored by East Hampton’s Kiwanis, Rotary, and Lions Clubs will be held at East Hampton High School earlier on Saturday, with teams from East Hampton, Mattituck, Sag Harbor, Hampton Bays, and Southampton competing.

The third-and-fourth-grade semifinals are to be played at 9:15 a.m., with the consolation and championship games at 11:15. 

The fifth-and-sixth-grade semifinals are to be played at 10:15, with the consolation and championship games at 12:15.