Bees Shocked, Bonac Rocked

Killer Bees hope to meet Shelter Island twice more
East Hampton knocked down 10 3-pointers in Saturday’s nonleague boys basketball game at Greenport, and Malachi Miller, above, had four of them. Craig Macnaughton

Last week was the best of times and the worst of times for the Killer Bees of Bridgehampton, who, after an exciting win over Pierson at home, went on to lose, 65-62, at Shelter Island, a fellow Class D school.

Ron White, the Bees’ coach, said the loss was on him, that he had failed to fully prepare his charges for a scrappy team that had nothing to lose. Complacence had led to inconsistency, he said, and thus to the loss, the Bees’ second of the League VII season vis-à-vis three wins. 

Bridgehampton’s stellar reputation had, of course, preceded it — only one other school in the state has won more state titles, and former Bee teams have in the past outscored Shelter Island ones by 50-plus points — but that winning history, said White, could also serve to fire up opponents. Louisville’s upset of the University of North Carolina this past weekend was a similar case in point, he said.

“Shelter Island was very scrappy; they were ready to play. . . . Hopefully, we’ll see them two more times this season, at home [on Feb. 4] and in the county Class D championship game” on Feb. 13.

Meanwhile, the Bees — as is the case with East Hampton — as of Monday were preparing for a four-game home stand, with the Ross School yesterday, Southold tomorrow, Smithtown Christian next Thursday, and Greenport on Jan. 28.

Speaking of East Hampton, Dan White’s team gave Greenport — the third-ranked Class C school in the state, and the top-ranked one on the Island — all it could handle in the first half of Saturday’s nonleaguer on the North Fork. 

The Bonackers, without a big man down low, tend to live or die by the 3. They not only lived but thrived from long range in the early going at Greenport, knocking down seven of 15 tries from beyond the arc in the first half, which ended with the score tied at 41-41.

But one had the sinking feeling that once East Hampton cooled off from long range, it would be over given the Porters’ edges in rebounding (in the form mainly of Julian Swann, a tall wide-body senior, and Zach Riggins, a similarly tough inside player) and in quickness (in the form mainly of Jaxan Swann and Ahkee Anderson, Greenport’s guards).

Soon, the 12-point lead that East Hampton had built up by way of Jeremy Vizcaino and Malachi Miller’s successive 3s early in the second quarter was history. 

Julian Swann put one up inside to begin the third period, after which Reese Costello hit from the perimeter, and Jaxan Swann tossed in an off-balance 2 before East Hampton’s Turner Foster replied with a basket of his own. A jumper from the foul line by Jaxan Swann, and subsequent made free throws by Anderson, who’d been fouled on his way to the hoop, extended the Porters’ lead to 52-43, and so it went as the home team continued to haul down rebounds and dash back up the court for easy layups as defenders’ necks swiveled. The final was 91-60.

“You can’t give another team 90 points and expect to win — we were terrible in getting back on defense,” White said afterward. “All of a sudden, it went from a 5 to a 20-point game. We were up by 14 at one point, but we got into foul trouble and our lead vanished pretty quickly.”

Still, one had to keep in mind, the coach said, that “they got to the [Class C] state final last year, losing to Lake George.”

Jaxan Swann led the onslaught with 25 points, followed by Julian Swann with 20, Anderson with 14, and Riggins with 10. Moreover, Julian Swann had 10 rebounds, Jaxan Swann had 8 assists, Anderson had 9 rebounds and 8 assists, and Riggins had 7 rebounds.

White said he hoped East Hampton, whose sixth straight loss it was, all on the road, would get back on track at home here this week. Bayport-Blue Point was to have played here Tuesday. Shoreham is to play here tomorrow. Miller Place and Westhampton Beach are to play here next week.