Bonackers’ Playoff Chances Worsen
Dan White, East Hampton High’s boys basketball coach, was hoping following Jan. 31’s win here over Hauppauge that his charges would do it again the next day at Sayville, thus putting them in a good spot regarding the playoffs.
Alas, that was not to be, as Sayville — a team the Bonackers bested earlier in the season by 22 points — jumped out to a 20-8 lead in the first quarter and held on for a 62-59 victory.
The loss dropped East Hampton to 6-7 in League V, with games remaining versus Westhampton Beach, Rocky Point, and Kings Park.
Westhampton handed East Islip its second loss of the season, by a score of 64-54, last Thursday, and Kings Park (a team East Hampton defeated 63-53 at home) was 11-3 in league play as of Friday.
Winning two of the final three, then, will be a challenge, though White said following the 76-55 win here over Hauppauge that he hoped to have Bladimir Rodriguez Garces, one of his two big men, who has been academically ineligible of late, back this week.
It could all come down to Monday’s regular-season finale at Kings Park.
Hauppauge had won only one game thus far as of Friday, though the Eagles, paced by their senior point guard, Eric Sanfilippo, did not go quietly here on the 31st. In fact, they were leading 37-32 at the half.
East Hampton turned it on, however, in the third, outscoring the visitors 30-10, capitalizing on a number of turnovers and shooting well from the floor and from the foul line.
“Beware of 1,” White said, referring to Sanfilippo, during the huddle between the third and fourth periods. But the Bonackers didn’t have to beware of him for too long inasmuch as Sanfilippo, who finished with a game-high 31 points, fouled out with almost five minutes left to play.
East Hampton was leading 71-51 when Sanfilippo returned to Hauppauge’s bench. Chris Stoecker, East Hampton’s 6-foot-7-inch center, and Jack Reese, its sparkplug point guard, were pulled in the fourth — Reese early on and Stoecker midway through — apparently to give some of their teammates playing time.
“Be sure you mention Noah Lappin,” White said afterward of one of those who came off the bench. “He’s the epitome of a team player. He doesn’t get to play much, but when he does he’s ready. He does everything well.”
Max Proctor also did well coming off the bench.
Jeremy Vizcaino, who started, took a charge after Lappin put back a Stoecker miss, and then knocked down a 3 (with Turner Foster assisting) for a 69-47 East Hampton lead in the opening minutes of the fourth.
Malachi Miller hit a 3 in the final minute for 76-55, after which, following a Hauppauge miss, he dribbled about as the clock ran out.
Reese led East Hampton with 23 points, Foster and Stoecker each had 13, and Miller, 11.
In related news, the lineup of Bridgehampton’s Killer Bees has been augmented by the return from Southampton of Nae’Jon Ward, a sure-handed sophomore guard who undoubtedly will improve the Bees’ postseason chances.
The Bees began the season at 0-6 before stringing together some wins. They were tied with Pierson, each at 7-3, for second place in League VIII (behind Greenport, 10-0 going into last night’s game with Southold) after facing each other Monday night at Pierson’s gym in Sag Harbor. The Whalers won, 74-61, without the services of their leading scorer, Will Martin, who was on the bench with an injury.
The playoffs, for the Bees, Pierson, and, possibly, East Hampton, are to begin next week.