Bees Clipped by Marathon Upstate

A 66-60 loss in the state hoops tourney in Binghamton ends their season
Bridgehampton’s J.P. Harding, one of Suffolk’s top scorers this year, seen in action in a Class D state regional semifinal win a year ago. Craig Macnaughton

In a regional basketball playoff game played this past weekend, Bridgehampton High’s Killer Bees, despite a very strong performance by J.P. Harding, who finished with 28 points and 19 rebounds (11 of them off the offensive boards), lost 66-60 to Marathon High of Cortland at the Floyd L. Maines Arena in Binghamton Sunday night.

Ron White, Bridgehampton’s coach, was quoted in Newsday as having said, “We were a couple of steps behind on [our man-for-man] defense.” Marathon, he told Newsday’s Kenny DeJohn, “was very disciplined and passed the ball very well.”

Bridgehampton led 13-10 after the first quarter. The game was tied 29-29 at the half, but Marathon outscored the Bees 22-16 in the third, which proved to be the eventual margin of victory.

Max Spooner, White’s assistant, said Monday that “our man-to-man defense lacked the intensity that we wanted. There were way too many easy drives to the bucket. Marathon was a very patient, well-disciplined, and deep group (10-man rotation) that played hard on both ends of the floor.”

Harding, who is among Suffolk’s top scorers, averaging more than 25 points per game this season, made good on 12 of 16 attempts from the field, and was, said Spooner, 4-for-5 from the foul line. Nae’Jon Ward, the junior point guard, finished with 13 points, four assists, and three steals, but went only 3-for-10 from 3-point range. Elijah White, who’s also a junior, had 13 points, including three 3s, and five assists. The team committed 12 turnovers.

That’s it, then, for the Bees, who last won a state championship in 2015, until next year. White, Ward, and William Walker, who could develop into a tough inside player, are to return. “We expect a lot of growth from that group,” said Spooner. “Meanwhile, it was a heck of a season.”