Killer Bees looking good in playoff quest

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The Bridgehampton Killer Bees boys basketball team saw a three-game winning streak come to an end when it lost 66-37 to the Stony Brook Bears on Friday, but it appears the 4-3 team could still buzz its way into the Class D playoffs.

After a slow start this season, but before getting smoked by the Bears, the Bees dominated Smithtown Christian 56-34 at home on January 9, beat Shelter Island 74-56 on the road on January 12 and got past Ross 58-43 home win on January 14.

The wins improved Bridgehampton’s record to 4-3 in League VIII, which is three victories away from a playoff berth.

“We sprang out to a 17 to nothing lead,” Bridgehampton assistant coach Joe Zucker said, reflecting on the Ross game, in which the Bees maintained a solid lead throughout four quarters. Zucker was filling in for head coach Carl Johnson, whose mother passed away. There was a moment of silence before the game.

Zucker noted that the Bees lost some focus and “played down” to their opponents’ level after surging ahead so early in the game, but despite that, Zucker said the Bees are progressing well.

“We were getting the ball up on the glass,” he said, pleased that his team took more shots and allowed fewer turnovers against Ross. According to Zucker, Bridgehampton had 67 two-point field goal attempts and 11 three-point attempts. “That is really good,” he said, noting that more players made more of a contribution against the Ravens.

“When you get 78 shots, you’ve got to be doing something right.”

Cesar Banados and Ainsley Wyche, who are both juniors, led the Bees with 18 and 14 points, respectively, but scoring was more evenly distributed throughout the roster. Zucker noted that juniors Jamal Hires and Evan Marzan also did good work on the court, but Banados inspired some of the biggest cheers when he caught nothing but net in back to back three-pointers, less than 30 seconds apart, with about five minutes left in the 19-8 first period.

Hires scored 11 points against Ross, staying on top of rebounds, while Marzan dominated up front and finished with 10 points.

Zucker said the Bees lost focus and struggled against undefeated Stony Brook on Friday, but he noted that he thinks they’ll do better in the rematch at home on February 11. In the meantime, he put the loss aside and was preparing to face the Whalers.

“Tuesday’s game will be a benchmark game,” Zucker said, noting that he hopes to see the Bees play a “more all around game” against Pierson, which is 3-3 in the League VIII. “It’s a big road game for us.”

Bridgehampton lost 62-59 at home against Pierson in overtime on December 16.

“We gave it away at home,” Zucker said, explaining that his inexperienced team missed far too many free throws. “It was horrible.”

“If we play well, we can conceivably win on Tuesday,” Zucker said.

“Our starting lineup doesn’t have a senior,” he said. Bridgehampton is starting four juniors and a freshman, Canaan Campbell, who scored six points against Ross.

After missing the last four games after the death of his mother, Johnson was expected back for the Pierson game. In Johnson’s absence, Zucker and assistant coach and former Killer Bee player Ronnie White ran the team.

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