Ward saves game for Lady Bonackers

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Down three points with just seconds remaining in Thursday’s home game against Bayport-Blue Point, East Hampton did not have enough time to pull out a victory, though eighth-grader Kaelyn Ward sank the one shot that could keep her team alive.

Ward’s three-pointer at the buzzer tied the score at 46 and opened the door for the Lady Bonackers to take the game, 57-52, in overtime.

“That was a good win, that was a great win,” Lady Bonackers head coach J. Howard Wood said after the intense, white-knuckle game. He noted that the Lady Phantoms had defeated his girls by 17 points, 41-24, in Bayport on January 6.

Last Thursday’s game was competitive from the opening tip until the final buzzer. Bayport led by four points at the end of the first quarter and East Hampton tied the game at 19 at the half. The two teams exchanged leads in the final two quarters until Ward’s three-point shot at the buzzer tied the game.

Ward opened overtime with a two-point lay up and a successful free throw to take the lead by three points, 49-46. The Lady Bonackers struggled with rebounds and, following a messy first minute of overtime that included several fouls, East Hampton still held a one-point lead at 50-49.

Senior Nicole Fierro scored two points with a about 80 seconds left in the extra frame, but the Lady Phantoms answered right back with a two-pointer, keeping East Hampton’s advantage to just one point.

Ward sank another free throw with 42 seconds remaining and Bayport replied in kind 18 seconds later. Liz Smith scored another charity shot for East Hampton and, despite Coach Wood yelling for her not to take the shot, Smith sank a long two-pointer to extend East Hampton’s lead to 56-52 with just six seconds to go.

Fierro nailed another free throw with just under one second remaining in overtime to secure the 57-52 lead.

“She had the confidence to shoot it,” Wood said of Smith’s final shot, adding that he wanted her to draw a foul instead. He noted that Jasmine Stevens also had a great effort against Bayport, though she fouled out with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

Fierro took big hits and spills, crashing to the floorboards multiple times during the game. She led the Lady Bonackers with 26 points. Ward followed closely behind with 24 points, including her game-tying three-pointer—her only one of the game.

Calli Stavola and Smith accounted for the team’s other seven points; Stavola finished with four points and Smith contributed with three points.

Wood applauded his team’s effort in spite of the fact that East Hampton is out of the playoff hunt. “The only thing you can do is ask for an effort,” he said, noting that the girls had excellent free throw percentages.

The coach also pointed out Ward’s clutch three-pointer that tied the game and forced overtime. “That was clutch,” Wood said.

The Lady Bonackers, who are now 3-8 in League VI, were scheduled to visit Mount Sinai on Tuesday afternoon. They fell to Mount Sinai 59-28 when they first met in East Hampton on January 8. At 8-3, Mount Sinai is ranked second behind Glenn in League VI.

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