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Mariners Romp to the B-C-D Title

Thu, 03/02/2023 - 10:06
Naevon Williams (0), vying with Pierson’s Luke Seltzer for the ball above, scored 20 points for Southampton in Saturday’s county B-C-D game played here, a game that Southampton won with ease 69-52.
Craig Macnaughton

The Southampton High School boys basketball team, after having lost a few nonleaguers, sailed smoothly through the league season undefeated, and looked during Saturday’s county B-C-D game with Pierson in East Hampton High’s gym as if it would continue to baffle the opposition, whoever it might be.

But it was not easy to get to Glens Falls, the Mariners’ longtime coach, Herm Lamison, said before the game began. The last time a Southampton team made it that far — and won — was in the 1999-2000 season, he said.

Saturday’s game, which the super-quick Mariners won handily, 69-52, was the third time Southampton had defeated the Sag Harborites this winter, though Will Fujita, Pierson’s coach, could take heart in the fact that at times, in the fourth quarter especially, his players looked pretty smooth themselves in breaking the Mariners’ vaunted run-and-jump press.

Lamison’s team was to have played the winner of that day’s A championship game between top-seeded Kings Park and Mount Sinai at Centereach High School Tuesday to determine the county’s small schools champion. The overall (AA-ABCD) county championship game is to be played Saturday at Stony Brook University at 2:30 p.m.

The state Class B regional semifinal, which will match Southampton against either Malverne or Carle Place, Nassau’s finalists, is to be played at Hofstra University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the same day Bridgehampton, the county’s Class D titlist, is to play a regional semifinal at the S.S. Seward Institute in Florida, N.Y.

The Whalers, who are to play the Section I/IX winner in a state Class C regional final at Eastport-South Manor High School on Friday, March 10, probably couldn’t have asked for a better warmup than they got here Saturday. Presumably they’ll not meet hereafter with a better press than the Mariners displayed.

Derek Reed, the Mariners’ star senior guard, who has been rehabbing a leg injury and wasn’t 100 percent, according to Lamison, nevertheless started and, despite sitting several times, finished with 18 points. But even without Reed, Southampton’s deep team was dominant.

Things went back and forth throughout the first period, at the end of which Pierson pulled to 19-14 on a 3-pointer by Charlie McLean, whose shot followed successive misses by Kyle Seltzer, a 6-8 freshman forward, and Dom Mancino, the junior point guard. It was a 4-point game three minutes into the second frame, but then the Mariners began to pull away.

Naevon Williams, a senior guard who was to lead Southampton with 20 points, hit a basket in the lane for 22-16. Mancino missed a 3-point attempt at the other end, after which Reed put back his own miss for 24-16, and following a Whaler turnover — the team’s seventh as of that point — Reed made two baskets in six seconds, the second of which capped another steal by him, for a 28-16 lead that Southampton continued to extend thereafter.

With four and a half minutes yet to play until halftime, the B-C-D game was pretty much over. Pierson’s 11th turnover, by Luke Seltzer, its leading scorer, was turned by the spinning Williams into a 37-24 lead just before the break.

Mancino yielded the ball when trapped by two Mariners as the third quarter started, and so it went. Southampton was up 60-32 going into the fourth, though the Whalers, who continued to play energetically, and who were beginning to have more success in breaking the press, pared that gaping lead to 17 in the final minutes.

Pierson’s and Southampton’s subs contended at the end. Nootimus Williams, a junior forward who had bounded onto the court in advance of his teammates five minutes before the game began, slowly crossover dribbled between his legs in the final minute until time ran out.

Tyson Reddick and Alex Franklin wound up with 11 each for the winners. Pierson’s McLean led all scorers with 21 points. Luke Seltzer had 14, and Aven Smith 10.

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