Ishanti Gumbs is happy to be back with her Southampton team in more ways than one.
The senior reunited with the Mariners after playing last year in Riverhead, and stepped back on the court last week after recovering from an ankle fracture that happened in a game against Mattituck December 12.
“I came back to finish where I started,” Gumbs said. “And this team has had a good run.”
It’s been huge for the Mariners and its leading scorer. Southampton (10-6 overall, 7-4 in League VII) is on a four-game win streak since the senior’s return — which follows two straight losses — and Gumbs averaged 14 points per game across that span.
“We weren’t really known for having a good team, and we are breaking a cycle,” she said. “We make each other better every day. We grow together on and off the court. It keeps us going. We have great chemistry.”
The string of victories culminated in a memorial invitational against Wyandanch January 18 in honor of former Warriors head coach Carl Clark, a good friend of Mariners head coach Juni Wingfield. Southampton secured a 61-44 victory behind 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals from Gumbs, who was named MVP.
“We went and gave it our all even though we were a little drained with it being our fourth game of the week,” Gumbs said. “Everybody played to their full potential. Everybody on our team had put up numbers, so it was truly an honor to receive the MVP award.”
Gabriella Arnold added 13 points, nine coming from three-pointers, and Madison Taylor finished with 10. Taylor racked up 12 points and eight assists and Allysha Thomas, 10 points and 15 rebounds, in a 44-38 win over Mattituck January 17. Caraline Oakley secured 17 points and 11 rebounds and Taylor 13 points in a 64-44 win over Smithtown Christian January 13 — Gumbs’s first game back. The senior standout finished last Monday’s contest with nine points.
“My teammates keep me going. They want to win as much as I want to,” Gumbs said. “It always feels good putting up points, but I feel great when everyone else on my team does, too.”
She said returning for her final season in high school has been fun so far, even with the injury, adding she and her teammates never lost their connection, and remain positive.
“Whether it’s getting one of us to score, a great defensive play, or words of encouragement, even after a loss, we are still putting good things in each other’s heads,” Gumbs said. “We never let each other get upset over what could have happened and what didn’t happen. We just talk about what we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen next time.”
Southampton looks to keep its streak alive when the team travels to Center Moriches Wednesday, January 22. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:15 PM.