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Knights Best the Killer Bees Again

Thu, 02/01/2024 - 15:55
Bridgehampton's Jai Feaster, a sophomore guard, on defense at home against Smithtown Christian Tuesday night. He wound up with 14 points before fouling out.
Jack Graves

The two fouls called on the Killer Bees' Alex Davis with no time showing on the clock following the second quarter of a high school basketball showdown with Smithtown Christian in Bridgehampton's gym Tuesday night more or less told the story. 

"We were on the way to the locker room when the technical was called," Carl Johnson, the Bees' coach, said after the 69-58 loss to Bridgehampton's chief rival for the county Class D crown. 

It was the second time in three meetings that the Knights, whom the Bees defeated in overtime last year to win the county championship game, have beaten the Bees this season. And it looks as if they could well do it again in their fourth encounter three weeks hence at Southampton High School, where the county Class B, C, and D championship games are to be played on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 7:30 p.m., 5:30, and 3:30.

Smith Chris could well do it again, that is, unless Bridgehampton's young, fiery team comes up in the interim with a way to contain the Knights' wide body, Isaiah McCarter, who dominated inside on Tuesday, finishing with 23 points and numerous rebounds. And he was perfect from the foul line, making good on all eight of his attempts. 

He wasn't the only one: Lorenzo Crilly, a wiry guard who ran the offense and finished with 16 points, set teammates up constantly and drained a couple of big 3s during the course of the fray.

Twenty-four fouls were called on Bridgehampton's players that night vis-a-vis Smithtown Christian's 12. "We've got to play with more composure," Johnson said, noting in particular the technical called on Davis at halftime, and the fifth foul on his fellow sophomore guard, Jai Feaster, with 2 minutes and 42 seconds left to play that forced him to the bench with the Bees trailing 60-46. By then, however, the die had pretty much been cast, though, with Feaster on the floor, the margin of victory probably would have been less.

"If we're going to be champions, we have to act like champions," Johnson said. "We've got a young team," he added. "They've got four seniors, we've got one senior."

Judging by the frenzied beginning, it looked as if the game would go down to the wire. Early baskets by Davis and Feaster treated the Bees to a 4-1 lead, but a putback by McCarter and subsequent baskets by Nehemiah Yuen and a wide-open 3 from the right corner by Julian Lopez, the Knights' secret weapon, who had come off the bench midway through the period, upped the visitors' lead to 8-4. A foul shot soon after by Crilly made it 9-4 before two baskets by Feaster, in the lane and at the hoop following a steal, pulled the Bees to 9-8 by the end of the quarter.

A 13-4 run by Smithtown Christian in the final three minutes of the second frame, a run during which Lopez and Crilly hit 3s, McCarter made a basket, and Crilly, McCarter, and Yuen made free throws, treated the visitors to a 30-21 halftime lead, a lead that the home team was not to overcome.

When called for his fourth foul midway through the third, Feaster cried out, "I didn't touch him!" But to no avail. 

The Bees pulled to within 8 as Davis converted a three-point play early in the fourth, an effort that prompted Bridgehampton's fans to chant, 'Beefense! Beefense!' as the visitors ran down the floor, but a 3-pointer by Crilly rained on the parade.

It was an 8-point game again nearing the midway mark, after Feaster made one of two free throws, but again Smithtown Christian replied, McCarter spinning through double coverage to the hoop before, on Smith Chris's next trip down the court, Crilly drew a foul from Mikhail Feaster, Jai's older brother, and made good on both free throws for a 55-43 lead. Soon after, another 3 by Crilly put the Knights up by 15. They were leading 60-46 when Jai Feaster fouled out.

Davis led the way for Bridgehampton, with a game-high 26 points, and Jai Feaster had 14. Of Crilly's 16 points, 10 came in the fourth quarter.

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