‘Canes, Mariners, Bonac, Whalers Are In

Gordon M. Grant

The resilient East Hampton Bonackers needed a win to earn a berth in the postseason playoffs Monday night on the road against a tough Kings Park team – and got it. The Bonackers opened up a quick 10-point lead and coasted to a 57-44 victory. Turner Foster had 16 points, and Jack Reese and Bladimir Rodriguez added 13 points apiece to lead East Hampton (8-8) in Suffolk V. The Kingsmen, 12-4 in league play will also play in the Class A playoffs and the two teams could face off again down the road.

Westhampton fought off a game East Hampton team 60-57 on February 6 to all but clinch the League V title and place the Bonackers in the dire position of needing to win its last game to keep its season alive.

Bonac deserved better: Dan White’s charges have gone to the wire with virtually every opponent ahead of them in the standings, and this one was no exception. The Bonackers led 23-16 at halftime and 45-41 after three stanzas, but Westhampton rallied down the stretch to prevail.

“We’re young. We get to that place in the game where we need a kid to step up.” Jack Reese, the heady senior point guard, can do it, the coach said. The others need time to mature. “We’ve got five or six kids coming back,” White noted.

Jake Gaudiello scored his 1000th point for the winners during the fray but it was Jim Baumiller who made Bonac pay down the stretch. He scored 20 points and went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final two minutes to lead Westhampton, now 13-2 in League V. Nolan Quinlan and Simon Brathwaite each added 14 points. Reese led Bonac with 17 points. Westhampton ascended to first place in the league, a game ahead of Kings Park and East Islip and two ahead of Harborfields.

All of the above are fighting for good seedings in the Suffolk County Class A tournament, which begins next week, but Amityville, 19-1 on the season and 17-0 in League VI, has earned the top seed. “They will have to play a bad game to lose,” White opined. As for the other top seeds, “We came within five points of beating all of them,” he lamented.

It took a head-banging win in the infamous “Brawl Game,” but the Southampton Mariners delivered with the season on the line and have earned a trip to the Suffolk County Class A playoffs.

The locals edged Wyandanch at home on Feb 6 80-74 in a game marred by a spectator fight after the game. (See story in the news section of this week’s Independent.) But the after-game shenanigans did not obscure the fact that once again Herm Lamison’s charges used a late season surge to get into postseason action, winning five straight games with the season on the line.

The Wyandanch game was hard fought to be sure. The Warriors, already eliminated from the playoffs, were playing their longtime rivals tough—and hard. The game seesawed back and forth and in the final minutes growing frustration with the way the referees were calling the game got the best of the Wyandanch bench and spectators in the stands.

That made the situation worse. The referees began calling technical fouls, which in turn gave the Mariners free throws. The more they made, the worst the atmosphere got. After the victory was sealed – Southampton made 40 foul shots and Wyandanch only seven, a fight broke out, and then another. The refs ended the game with time still on the clock, though the outcome was determined.

The players, both schools stressed, were not involved. In fact Herm Lamison, a Detective Sergeant in the Southampton Village Police Department, stressed his players were already in the locker room when the melee became dangerous – two people ended up in the hospital before order was destroyed.

It took security personnel and local police arriving on the scene a few minutes to break things up.

Southampton, which advanced to the State Class A Final Four last season, relied on its two returning stars, Micah Snowden and Elijah Wingfield. Snowden finished with 32 points. His numbers swelled by the penalty tosses: he made 20 of 21. He also grabbed 24 rebounds to lead Southampton, (8-6) in Suffolk VI.  Newcomer Marcus Trent, whose dad was a star player at the school, contributed 14.

The Mariners lost a chance to improve their playoff season by losing at Bayport/Blue Point Thursday, 76-64. Snowden (25) and Wingfield combined for 43 in that one. The Mariners now await the Section 11 Seeding Committee recommendations to see if they get a home game to begin the playoffs. Either way, the road is fraught with peril – there are a dozen teams in Class A that could challenge for the title.

Four League VIII teams await the playoffs: Greenport (12-0, 18-2 overall) will be the top seed in the County Class C tournament, which will also feature Pierson (10-3,11-9) and Southold (7-5, 7-13). Bridgehampton (8-4, 8-10) will likely represent Long Island in the State Class D tournament.

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