When scheduling non-league matches and tournaments, Westhampton Beach wrestling coach Paul Bass doesn’t make life easy for his team. The Hurricanes face some of the toughest teams Long Island has to offer during the non-league portion of their schedule, and the competition in League VI is nothing to sneeze at either.
On Saturday, December 20, the Hurricanes took on a stacked Connetquot team in what was supposed to be a double dual meet with Smithtown West in Connetquot, but Smithtown West did not attend. Westhampton Beach was in the process of trying to reschedule its matchup with the Bulls as of Monday.
Westhampton Beach suffered a 48-18 loss to Connetquot, but had some success, particularly in the lower weights, which are its strength. Sophomore Andrew Capuano (96 pounds) continued to shine, earning a 3-2 win for the Canes that impressed Bass.
“He wrestled real, real well,” Bass said. “We’re all really excited about him. He’s fun to watch right now.”
At 112 pounds, junior Pete DeTore pinned his opponent in 5:33.
“Pete looked great,” Bass said. “He really dominated on top and we’ve been working on that with him.”
Sophomore Zach Bass had an impressive win at 119 pounds, defeating James McCabe 6-2 in double overtime. The win was a bit of vindication for Bass, who lost 8-3 to McCabe in the county tournament last year. In their most recent match, Bass scored the first takedown before McCabe tallied a reversal to tie the match. In the first overtime, neither wrestler scored a takedown and in the second overtime, Bass tallied the winning points by turning McCabe. With one second remaining, Bass received two more points after McCabe was given an unsportsmanlike penalty.
“That was huge,” Coach Bass said of his son’s win. “It shows you how far Zach has come. That kid dominated him last year. He was really excited and he wrestled pretty smart.”
Westhampton Beach’s only other win came at 145 pounds, where junior Scott Carey won with a pin in 2:55. Early in the season, Carey had been wrestling primarily at 152 pounds, but was more effective at the lower weight, Bass said.
“Scott looked great. It was the first time he wrestled at 145 pounds and, hopefully, he’ll be there from now on.”
At 103 pounds, sophomore Conner Bass suffered a tough 3-1 loss to Sean McCabe, whom he had lost to in the county tournament last season. McCabe scored the first takedown to take a 2-0 lead and Bass cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second period with an escape. Late in the third period, Bass let McCabe out to try and get a takedown, but could not score the necessary points before time ran out.
At 125 pounds, Cory Hubbard suffered a 5-0 loss to James Cameron, another quality wrestler whom Hubbard had wrestled previously. Coach Bass said he saw similarities between both his son Conner’s and Hubbard’s matches against Connetquot.
“I thought they wrestled tight,” he said. “They fought too much. They were preparing for the match and when they got on the mat, it was like they were still thinking. Prep time is for the days before. When you get on the match, you have to let it loose. They wrestled kind of tight, but that’s what December is for.”
Coach Bass wasn’t disappointed with his team’s losses at 130 and 135 pounds, saying that Connetquot was simply stronger at those weight classes. Danny Maddock (130), suffered an 11-0 loss in what was his first match of the season.
“He lost to a kid who’s ranked in the county and it was his first match back,” Bass said. “He didn’t wrestle horribly, he just made a couple of mistakes we have to work on.”
Brian Lagoumis lost by technical fall in 4:52 against another county-ranked opponent.
“Brian was a little tentative, but the kid was just a lot better,” Bass said.
At 152 pounds, Marco Pizzo was pinned by another strong wrestler in 2:41, but Bass said he was hoping for a better effort from both Matt Mazarakis (160) and Brian Kobus (171). Mazarakis was pinned in 5:52 when the score was tied, while Kobus was also pinned late in a close match, at 5:27.
“I thought they could have wrestled a lot better,” Bass said. “We shouldn’t give up pins at the end of a match like that.”
At 189 pounds, Bobby Garone suffered a 9-2 loss, but Bass was happy with his effort considering he was wrestling above his usual weight class.
“Bobby was giving away a lot of weight, but he stayed in to help the team out,” Bass said. “It was his first varsity match and he wrestled really well.”
At 215 pounds, sophomore Brian Moore was pinned in 5:55, but like Garone, he was also giving away a lot of weight.
“We expect big things from him, but he’s still in the learning stage,” Bass said. “He wrestled well until the last 30 seconds.”
Westhampton Beach forfeited the 140-pound weight class.
Overall, Bass had mixed feelings about the match, admitting that getting a win over Connetquot would have been an upset but adding he was hoping for better efforts from several wrestlers.
“They’re a very good team, but some of our guys didn’t wrestle very well either,” he said. “I felt we had an outside shot at them if we had our full lineup.”
The Hurricanes will compete in a tournament at Half Hollow Hills East High School on Monday and Tuesday and will host a tournament at Westhampton Beach on January 3.