Bonac Boys Meet Tip-Off Tourney Test

Besting Pierson (Sag Harbor) 60-47 in Saturday’s championship game
Bladimir Rodriguez Garces, coming down with a rebound above, beyond the outstretched arm of Pierson’s Emmett Shaughnessy in the Kendall Madison Tip-Off tourney’s championship game, has been working on his inside moves, as has the Bonackers’ 6-foot-8-inch center, Chris Stoecker. Craig Macnaughton

East Hampton High School’s boys basketball team commenced its season with an impressive win in the Kendall Madison Tip-Off tournament here this past weekend, trouncing McGann-Mercy 80-48 on Friday before besting Pierson (Sag Harbor) 60-47 in Saturday’s championship game.

Jack Reese, Bonac’s senior point guard, led the way with 18 points, 7 assists, and at least as many steals in the final. He was adjudged the tournament’s most valuable player. 

Reese, Malachi Miller, who guarded Pierson’s chief scoring threat, Will Martin, in what East Hampton’s coach, Dan White, called “a sagging man-for-man defense” designed to keep Martin from getting into the paint, and Jeremy Vizcaino, a sophomore guard who scored 16 points in the win over Mercy, were named to the all-tournament team, along with Pierson’s Martin and Henry Brooks, who, like his brother, Tom, is a serious 3-point threat.

With Martin exploding for 36 points, and with Henry Brooks draining five 3-pointers, Pierson defeated Mattituck 56-49 in Friday’s other semifinal. Mattituck placed third in the tourney by defeating Mercy in Saturday’s consolation game.

East Hampton’s junior varsity, coached by Joe McKee, also won a trophy, defeating Mattituck’s jayvee in the final as Pierson beat Mercy for third place.

There was a Slammin’ Santa youth tournament here this past weekend as well, with East Hampton’s third-and-fourth-grade team, Sag Harbor’s fifth-and-sixth-grade team, and Westhampton Beach’s seventh-and-eighth-grade team winning the brackets.

It was no surprise that the White-coached Bonackers handled the Whalers with relative ease in the Kendall Madison tournament’s championship game, for White, who had been at Sag Harbor for a number of years before coming here last season, had coached most of Pierson’s varsity players since they were third graders.

(He’ll be doing the same with East Hampton’s youngsters as of Saturday, overseeing a revived Saturday morning Biddy Basketball program at the John M. Marshall Elementary School.)

East Hampton led 15-5 after the first quarter, and was up 28-15 at the half. Thanks largely to Miller’s attentiveness, Martin was limited to 12 points for the game.

When the Whalers cut the lead to 9 early in the third, on a 3-pointer by Cooper Schiavoni, Reese, after a 3-point try by Miller went in and out, replied with two successive steals and layups for 32-19. 

A 3-pointer by Martin, who found himself whenever he tried to penetrate double and sometimes triple-teamed, pulled Pierson to within 7, at 36-29 with about three and a half minutes to go in the third, but that was as close as the Whalers were to come. A buzzer-beater by Vizcaino treated the Bonackers to a 45-36 lead at the end of the third period, a lead they were to extend to 21 before White and Hank Katz began to send in the subs.

Reese, Noah Lappin, Ruben Aquino, and Chris Stoecker (a 6-foot-8-inch center), the team’s senior captains, accepted the trophy from Carl Johnson, the former coach of Bridgehampton’s Killer Bees.

The tournament’s program said the late Kendall Madison, after whom the tourney is named, “was a beloved son  of the East Hampton community. He played football, basketball, and ran track in the spring. He was a member of the 1989 Class B state-championship boys basketball team. He was an all-league, all-county, and M.V.P. football player who went on to play football at the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship.”

“The Kendall Madison Foundation and the Kendall Madison scholarship fund were established in his memory to assist others to achieve their dreams. . . . Kendall was inducted into the East Hampton High School Hall of Fame in 2012.” 

After Saturday’s game, White said Reese was “probably the best point guard I’ve ever coached. . . . If anything, he’s a little too unselfish.”

Katz, when questioned, said his team had “played hard,” and that he’d been impressed by his players’ rebounding, “but our ball movement needs to be better.”

Martin couldn’t do it all, he said, “and he realizes that — he’s a leader, he does his best to orchestrate things, to keep his teammates involved.”

While a good, hard-working team, the Whalers can expect to have a lot of competition in Class C this winter. “Stony Brook’s always strong, Port Jefferson ought to be good, and Greenport is really good,” Katz said.

For his part, White said he’d have a better idea as to how the Bonackers may fare this season once Monday’s nonleaguer at Southampton is under their belts.