The East Hampton Lady Bonackers girls basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 52-50 home loss to Miller Place on January 13 in what was their closest loss of the season.
The Lady Bonackers also lost 69-42 on their home court against Shoreham Wading River on Saturday.
Though victory proved elusive against Miller Place, the girls showed heart through four periods of neck-and-neck action. The Lady Bonackers were down five points with less than three minutes to go, but they pressed on and closed the gap, tying the score 50-50 with about 30 seconds left in the game.
But the Lady Panthers scored another basket with 19 seconds remaining to eke out the win, holding their advantage for the final stretch.
“They deserve better, they really do,” Lady Bonackers coach J. Howard Wood said, shaking his head after the final buzzer and taking in the weight of the loss. At 1-7 in League VI and 2-9 overall, East Hampton is familiar with defeat, but previous losses were decisive and by a nearly 20-point margin.
“I’ll take that effort every day,” Wood said.
He noted that his team never gave up and didn’t panic, even when the Lady Panthers were ahead. “That’s a good sign,” he added.
The coach appeared to take the loss to heart, repeating, “They deserve to win.”
After East Hampton’s 51-32 loss in Amityville on January 10, Wood said the girls needed to correct certain aspects of their game and step up offensively. Something changed against Miller Place, as the Lady Bonackers’ final scoring output was nearly 20 points higher than its previous high of 32 points.
East Hampton senior guard Nicole Fierro led the team with 17 points, followed by eighth-grade guard Kaelyn Ward with 10 points. Fierro leads the Lady Bonackers overall with 83 points this season, while Ward follows with 49.
Under Wood’s direction, the Lady Bonackers kept on top of Miller Place’s leading scorer Erin Pipe, but Pipe still managed to match Fierro’s 17 points, eight of them coming in the fourth period. East Hampton scored 10 points a quarter through the half and stepped up scoring to 15 points per quarter in the second part of the game. The effort was commendable, but not quite enough.
With the win against East Hampton, Wading River is 6-2 in League VI and 9-3 overall.
The Lady Bonackers will play in Westhampton at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday and visit the formidable 7-0 League VI leader John Glenn at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Next Thursday, East Hampton will host Bayport at 6:15 p.m.