The East Hampton boys basketball team finally felt the effects of its challenging non-league schedule on December 27, suffering its first loss of the season when it fell 70-57 to defending Suffolk County Class B champion Center Moriches (League VII) at home. The Bonackers had to contend with one of the best backcourt duos in the county in brothers Jonathan and Jordan Ward-Adams, who led a fast-paced and explosive Center Moriches attack. It didn’t help that East Hampton had one of its poorest shooting nights of the season thus far, which allowed the Red Devils to take a 36-23 halftime lead.
Red Devil Jordan Ward-Adams, a senior, led all scorers with 27 points. He had 12 points during the second quarter when his team took a commanding lead. He notched his 1,000th career point with just under three minutes left in the first half, and the game was interrupted so his father and head coach, John Ward-Adams, could present him with a game ball.
The younger Ward-Adams brother, a junior, was also instrumental in the second quarter, tallying seven points in that frame.
East Hampton made a run in the third quarter as leading scorer Jerome Russell—who had just five points at halftime—finally started hitting shots. The Bonackers outscored Center Moriches 21-14 in that frame to cut the deficit to six points, but the Red Devils extended their lead again in the fourth quarter to cruise to the win.
Bonacker center Hayden Ward led his team with 19 points while Russell added 16 points. John Ward-Adams finished with 22 points for Center Moriches.
East Hampton head coach Ed Petrie commended Center Moriches for its strong effort, but said he did not feel that the Red Devils were a far superior team to his own.
“The most important thing is that we didn’t shoot very well,” he said. “On the other hand, defensively we allowed them to get to the basket too much on driving layups and offensive rebounds. In the final analysis, they outplayed us.”
Petrie admitted that the Ward-Adams tandem was the best backcourt his team has faced thus far this season, but added that he felt his team could have done more to limit their effectiveness.
“We were a little slow reacting for whatever reason,” he said.
The loss dropped East Hampton to 6-1 overall, and the team held a 3-0 record in League VI prior to a scheduled game against Bayport/Blue Point on Tuesday. Before the loss against Center Moriches, the Bonackers dominated local rival Southampton 72-48 at home on December 23 in their annual non-league game. A 26-9 advantage after the first quarter set the tone in that game and the Bonackers never looked back. Russell led all scorers with 25 points, while Ward contributed 18 points and Alex Toussaint chipped in eight points. The Mariners were led by Kyren Miller, who finished with 24 points, and Lester Pettaway, who had 12 points.
“We forced them into bad passes and we had a big first quarter and the game was pretty much over after that,” Petrie said. “I thought we stayed in control throughout the game.”
As of Monday, East Hampton was still in the process of trying to reschedule a non-league game against defending Long Island Class AA champion Half Hollow Hills West. The Bonackers were originally scheduled to face the defending county champion from each class this season, and already have wins against defending Class D champion Greenport and defending Class C champion Port Jefferson. The Bonackers were the county champs in Class A last season before advancing to the state final.
East Hampton will visit Mt. Sinai on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and will host Amityville on Saturday at noon.