Shelter Island Rocked by Killer Bees

Lackluster last time, Bridgehampton came to play
Having been tentative at Shelter Island, the Killer Bees came to play Monday night at home. Jack Graves

Before Monday’s showdown between Shelter Island and Bridgehampton at the Beehive, the Hardings, father and son, stood side by side for photos with the son’s 1,000th-point ball, and not long afterward the Killer Bees’ high-scorer put on a show, to the delight of his father and a gym largely packed with the Bridgehampton High School boys basketball team’s fans.

(The Hardings are the only father-son duo to have been 1,000-point scorers at Bridgehampton in the school’s hoop history. Asked during the game how many points he had scored, the senior J.P. Harding said, “Twelve-something . . . he’s probably passed me now.”)

The Bees not long ago had lost 65-62 on The Rock, but this time Ron White’s team rocked Shelter Island 78-61.

A 50-foot, three-quarter-court heave by Elijah White that banked in off the backboard fronting the stage as the first quarter ended set the stage for the rout. 

When it was over, Max Spooner, White’s assistant, said J.P. Harding had scored 34 points and, even more impressive, had 30 rebounds — an extraordinary performance, even by Killer Bee standards. In brief, the Bees, whose swarming defense didn’t give the visitors a chance to breathe that night, came to play.

Naejon Ward, the junior point guard, whose layups curl their way nicely into the basket, finished with 11 points and 10 assists; White, with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists, and Johnny De Groot (who because of an injury had not played in the teams’ first game), with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Bridgehampton and Shelter Island will meet again — in the county Class D championship game at Center Moriches High School Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. 

“We’re locked and loaded, but Shelter Island’s a scrappy team and I respect their coach,” Jay Card Jr., said White, who added that “we’ve got to play to win rather than play not to lose.”

Alas, there will be no playoffs for East Hampton’s Bonackers, who went down fighting in a loss to Wyandanch here this past week. 

It was a 4-point game with a little over a minute to go, after Turner Foster hit a 3-pointer, but the visitors, whose Dionte Jordan (45 points) was unstoppable, kicked the lead back up to 10 in the ensuing moments on the way to the 99-93 win.

Rebounding, as it has been all season, proved to be the Bonackers’ sore point.

As for Jordan, “We played four different defenses against him,” but to no avail, said East Hampton’s coach, Dan White. “He’s long, fast, and has a good handle, very impressive. I think Wyandanch is the best team in our league right now.”

Christian Johnson, East Hampton’s strongest rebounder, led the team with a career-high 33 points; Foster had 23, 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter; Jeremy Vizcaino, whose buzzer-beating layup bested Mount Sinai 56-55 here on Jan. 30, had 16, and Malachi Miller 13.

East Hampton lost 76-52 to Amityville here Monday to finish the league season at 6-10.

Like the Killer Bees, Pierson’s girls, a Class C team, are also headed to the playoffs. They improved their league-leading record to 14-0 (and extended their winning streak to 15) by virtue of a 64-34 win over Smithtown Christian in the Whalers’ gym Saturday afternoon.

Katie Kneeland finished with a game-high 27 points, and Chastin Giles, the team’s quick, pinpoint-passing point guard, with 22.

“Defense has been the key for us all year, but our offense has come around the past few weeks,” Kevin Barron, Pierson’s coach, said afterward.

As for the playoffs, Barron’s charges won’t have to play for a county classification title, there being no opposition. Last year, he said in reply to a question, “We lost to Stony Brook [which no longer plays in Section XI] in the first round . . . kind of an upset.”