Bonackers Win and the Band Plays On

Dan White’s charges have been playing with gusto
Jeremy Vizcaino (12) dropped 28 on Bayport-Blue Point. Craig Macnaughton

Dan White, who coaches East Hampton High’s boys basketball team, said after a recent lopsided loss at Greenport — a game in which the Bonackers played toe-to-toe with the high-flying Porters in the first half — that he was looking to get back on track in the following week in a four-game home stand with Bayport-Blue Point, Shoreham-Wading River, Miller Place, and Westhampton Beach.

That home stand began, as he had wished, with relatively easy wins over the Phantoms and Wildcats, thanks largely to his charges’ deadly shooting from 3-point range. In East Hampton’s 83-38 win over Bayport, White’s players, with Jeremy Vizcaino and Malachi Miller leading the way, drained 16 of the 37 shots they took from behind the arc, a terrific percentage — perhaps a record — and, in the game with Shoreham here Friday, they knocked down nine more. 

It was said after the Greenport nonleaguer that East Hampton, without a big man down low since Bladimir Rodriguez Garces broke his toe early in the campaign, either lived or died by the 3. But, as the Bonackers’ performance Friday demonstrated, that isn’t necessarily so. Mirroring the Porters, they frequently cashed in on fast breaks following Shoreham misses, thanks largely to the pinpoint passing of Turner Foster.

Miller, who often was on the receiving end of those passes, was a constant threat as well, from both short and long range, though he had to come out, limping, with a cramped calf muscle, early in the fourth quarter after taking a blow to the face on his way to the hoop.

“Sometimes it takes time to find yourself,” Joe Vas, East Hampton’s athletic director, said, when this writer, midway through the third period, and with the Bonackers up by 46-23, enthused about East Hampton’s all-around up-tempo play.

Logan Gurney came off the bench when Miller limped off in the company of East Hampton’s trainer, Nick Jarboe, and acquitted himself very well thereafter, blocking a shot and hitting two jumpers near the end of the 61-33 victory.

Foster led the way scoring-wise, with 15 points, followed in double figures by Miller, with 13, and Vizcaino, with 11. Max Proctor had eight.

“We played well — our balance was good,” White said afterward. “We didn’t have too many turnovers, we shot better, and our defense was good. We’re 4-6 now, and we have a big game with Miller Place on Tuesday night. That will be a big one. We lost at their place, but it was our worst game of the season.”

East Hampton was urged on enthusiastically that night by the school’s band and its dance team, which performed a tightly choreographed number at halftime. White, who said he hoped the band and dancing girls would be back Tuesday, added, “The kids are fun to watch. Bring the kids, bring the family.”

Miller, encountered in the hall later, said the aforementioned calf cramp didn’t pose a problem. Yes, it was true, he said, that the loss of Rodriguez Garces had hurt, certainly when it came to rebounding, but that he, Christian Johnson, and Foster had stepped up in that regard.

He definitely thought, he said, that East Hampton had a good chance at making the playoffs, and that the Bonackers definitely had a good chance at beating Miller Place the second time around. “They’ve got one kid” — presumably Thomas Cirrito, who scored 27 points in the Panthers’ 60-59 win over Amityville Friday — “who’s good, but otherwise. . . .”

In another game played Friday, Bridgehampton’s Killer Bees, with J.P. Harding leading the way with 29 points and 19 rebounds, defeated Southold 66-53 at the Beehive. Nae’jon Ward, the Bees’ point guard, had 14 points. Ron White, Bridgehampton’s coach, said last week that Harding and Ward were among the county’s top 20 scorers.

Craig Macnaughton