Balanced scoring, maturity, and an ability to grind it out have been factors in a 4-0 start for the Bridgehampton boys basketball team.
The Killer Bees took on a pair of traditionally strong League VII teams in non-league action last week and came away with impressive victories—one where they got off to a hot start and coasted, and another where they needed a huge comeback effort late in the game.
Bridgehampton started the week by traveling to Wyandanch on December 9, coming away with a 69-66 win, before defeating Westhampton Beach, 60-46, in another road game on Saturday.
In the win over Wyandanch, Bridgehampton was down by as many as 20 points in the second quarter before cutting the lead to 12 at halftime and nine by the third quarter. The Killer Bees took the lead for good after a 9-0 run that started with them down six with three minutes left in the game. Matt Hostetter hit a three-pointer, and then teammate Elijah Jackson followed with back-to-back three-pointers, the last of which put Bridgehampton up by three with 2:30 left in the game. Wyandanch cut it to one point again and had the ball with less than 30 seconds left, but the Killer Bees made a defensive stop, and J.P. Harding corralled a rebound and drew a foul. He hit both free throws with 1.3 seconds left to seal the victory.
“The defense stepped up when they had to,” Bridgehampton head coach Carl Johnson said of his team.
Wyandanch’s Kashawn Charles led all scorers with 34 points, 25 of which came in the first half. He hit seven three-pointers in the first half alone.
“We switched defenses and were able to contain him in the second half,” Johnson said of Charles. The coach added that he was proud of his team’s effort against a formidable Warriors team.
“They’re athletic and they play hard,” he said of Wyandanch. “I thought it was one of the best road victories for Bridgehampton in awhile. Two or three years ago, we might have just packed it in in a game like that, but we just kept fighting back, and I think that’s a sign of our maturity.”
Bridgehampton had five players in double figures, with Josh Lamison scoring 16 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, while Jackson had 16 points, including four three-pointers, to go with six assists. J.P. Harding had 12 points, while both point guard Tylik Furman and Hostetter had 10.
Bridgehampton played without Lamison on Saturday after he suffered a mild concussion in the win over Wyandanch. And while Lamison is typically one of the team’s leading scorers and its top rebounder, the Killer Bees did not miss a beat without him in the lineup—thanks in large part to Elijah Harding—cruising to a 60-46 win. Harding, a forward, led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds, giving the Killer Bees a strong presence in the paint. Bridgehampton got off to a hot start, leading 44-17 at halftime.
“I think we played almost flawless ball in the first half,” Johnson said. “We had no turnovers, we shot the ball extremely well, and we moved the ball. I couldn’t ask for a better half, considering we didn’t have Josh.”
Johnson said his team’s effort in the second half wasn’t as impressive, but Westhampton Beach never got closer than a 12-point deficit.
Hostetter had 19 points, hitting five three-pointers, while Furman added nine points and Jackson had six.
Bridgehampton was scheduled to host Port Jefferson on December 15 to open the League VIII season and will host Southold on December 22 at 6 p.m.