As it stands, every game is do-or-die for the Hampton Bays girls basketball team.
After suffering a 56-34 home loss to second-place Center Moriches (7-1 in league play, 12-2 overall) on Friday, the Lady Baymen’s record fell to 4-5 in League VII and 6-10 overall. It puts Hampton Bays in the position of needing to win two of their last three games to earn a spot in the playoffs. Teams must finish with a .500 record in league play to qualify for the postseason.
The Lady Baymen were scheduled to visit undefeated league leader Wyandanch on Tuesday, and will visit Mattituck (5-4) on Monday, February 9, before closing out the regular season at home against Babylon (3-5) on Wednesday, February 11, at 6:15 p.m.
Hampton Bays was 0-3 in its first meetings with those three teams. Still, head coach Dave Goodman has reason to be optimistic that his team can get the job done. In the first game against Mattituck, the Lady Baymen lost by six points but did not have starter Rachel Tufano available for the final three quarters of the game after she hit her head in a collision in the first quarter. Against Babylon, the Lady Baymen were sluggish for the better part of the game before making a comeback that fell just short in the final quarter.
“We still have a shot,” Goodman said on Monday.
The first quarter told the story in Hampton Bays’ loss to Center Moriches on Friday. The Lady Red Devils applied a full-court, man-to-man pressure defense that the Lady Baymen could not solve. As a result, they fell behind 17-2 and never recovered, despite the fact that the Lady Red Devils went back to a less aggressive defense after the first frame.
“We just couldn’t handle it,” Goodman said of the pressure defense. “We were doing all right defensively, but we had more than 30 turnovers. We’re not really able to control the flow.”
The bright spot in the game for the Lady Baymen was the performance of forward Rachel Tufano, who scored a season-high 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds and seven blocks. The next-highest Hampton Bays scorers had just four points.
“That was a monster game for her,” Goodman said.
Whether or not the playoffs become a reality, Goodman said he’s still pleased with the effort his team has put forth this season. “They’re still a great group of girls to coach,” he said. “They’re great athletes, they’re great students, and they try really hard.”
Boys Fall to Center Moriches
The Hampton Bays boys basketball team suffered the same fate, falling to league leader Center Moriches 71-57 on the road on Friday.
The Baymen were in the game in the fourth quarter, facing a 10-point deficit with five minutes to go, but they could not close the gap. Center Moriches was led by junior Jon Ward Adams, who scored a game-high 25 points to go along with 11 assists. His brother, senior Jordan Ward Adams, was out with a sprained ankle, an injury that might limit his play in the remainder of the regular season. Despite missing half of its dynamic backcourt duo, Center Moriches maintained its position atop the league standings.
Hampton Bays head coach Pete Meehan said his team performed better than it did in its first meeting with the Red Devils, a 101-58 loss, but he said that the same theme—too many turnovers—plagued his players again.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that several players on the team had been battling the flu during the week of practice leading up to the game.
“We got beat up pretty bad by the flu,” Meehan said. “We had four healthy bodies on Monday and Tuesday. It just decimated us to a certain degree. I was happy with how hard we played, and I felt like we competed. But 20 turnovers for the game is far too many.”
Cameron Booth led Hampton Bays with 18 points and three assists, while Davi Assis had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Baymen were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, which dropped them to 2-8 on the season, 4-11 overall. They were scheduled to host Wyandanch (8-2) on February 3 and will visit Southold (1-9) on Friday at 6:15 p.m. They will host Mattituck (1-9) on Monday, February 9, at 5:45 p.m., and will close out the season at Babylon (7-3) on Wednesday, February 11, at 7 p.m.