The third time was not a charm for the Hampton Bays girls basketball team.
For the third consecutive season, the Lady Baymen reached the finals of their host tournament, the Hampton Bays Classic, on Saturday only to lose to Hauppauge, 69-65. Hampton Bays had taken care of East Hampton, 73-30, in the opening game of the tournament on Friday night to advance to the championship game.
Hampton Bays faced a 12-point deficit heading into the final quarter on Saturday evening, but it was able to make it a one-point game with just a few minutes remaining. Hauppauge hit a free-throw to make it a two-point game, then the Lady Baymen turned the ball over and the Lady Eagles were able to hit some free throws to create the final margin of victory.
Hampton Bays head coach Pat McGunnigle said his team simply lost its energy after having to come back so many times throughout the game.
“We couldn’t maintain that type of play,” he said. “We would come back just enough to tie the game or take a small lead, then they would come right back and get a big lead.”
Hauppauge’s size up front also hurt the Lady Baymen. Carly Tellekamp, the tallest player between both squads, had 20 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks. But Hampton Bays also didn’t defend the perimeter all too well. Alex Scauri (19 points) sank five three-pointers, many of which were uncontested.
Alexis Fotopoulos scored 30 points for Hampton Bays. Trish Liotta was 8 for 11 from the field, finishing with 20 points, which included two three-pointers. Alex Maitland-Ward had 11 rebounds.
“We usually make up for our lack of size by pressing a team,” McGunnigle said. “But we couldn’t press because our depth was thin. We usually play a full-court press the entire game, but we weren’t allowed to do that.”
Liotta scored 31 points and Fotopoulos had 19 in the win over East Hampton. Hampton Bays had a 35-15 lead at halftime.
Hampton Bays also defeated Port Jefferson, 85-42, at home in a non-league game on December 4 that was the first game of the season for both teams. Fotopoulos scored 32 points and had eight rebounds and seven assists in the victory. Liotta finished with 23 points and Hannah Reed accounted for 13 points.
Even with the loss to Hauppauge, McGunnigle thinks his team has gotten off to a good start. He likes what he’s seen from Fotopoulos and Liotta thus far, but would like to see other players step up.
“What we need now is to develop those other kids to the point where they can really help us, and I think that can happen during the season,” he said. “We haven’t had much time to prepare for the league games coming up, but the most important thing is that we develop our players.”
The Hampton Bays boys basketball team got off to a sluggish start to the season with a 45-18 loss at Shoreham/Wading River on December 3, followed by a 61-29 loss at home to Westhampton Beach on Friday. Both were non-league games. The 18 points the Baymen scored last week in the loss to Shoreham was the lowest total under longtime head coach Pete Meehan, who has been coaching for 28 years. The previous low for the Baymen had been 24 points back in 1996.
There were plenty of reasons why the Baymen had a hard time with the Wildcats. They were 8 for 34 from the field, 0 for 16 from three-point range, and they committed 22 turnovers. And they only got to the free throw line four times.
Meehan thought the five points his team scored in the first half would be a low for all of Suffolk County this season, but Port Jefferson scored just three first-half points in a 51-29 loss to Stony Brook on Saturday.
“Our inability to generate much offense and to take care of the ball is what hurt us,” he said. “We couldn’t score and they played a zone for four quarters. Twenty-two turnovers against a zone is way too high. And we had a reliance on shots from the three-point line when they weren’t going in.”
Phil DiPierdomenico, a senior, scored a career-high 13 points for the Baymen. Sophomore Matt Rinaldi scored three points and senior Joe Veeck scored two to round out the scoring.
Hampton Bays had a hard time stopping Westhampton Beach junior Devonte Dickson in the loss to the Hurricanes. Dickson scored 18 of his career-high 33 points in the first half. He drained all four of his three-point shots in the first frame, some from 30 feet out. The Canes led 23-8 after the first quarter and never looked back.
The Baymen played better than they did in their first game of the season but still struggled offensively, going 8 for 33 from the field. They were able to get to the line, though they only made 10 of 21 shots, but they only turned the ball over 12 times. Rinaldi scored a team-high 12 points while senior Dan Marte had the next highest point total with six.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Wednesday, 12/11, vs. William Floyd; Friday, 12/13, at Southampton, 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 12/17, vs. Mercy, 5:45 p.m.Boys—Friday, 12/13, vs. Southampton, 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 12/17, at Port Jefferson, 4:30 p.m.