A quartet of experienced players hopes to lead the East Hampton boys basketball team back to the Class A playoffs this year in what should be another competitive season in League VI.
The Bonackers lost three starters from last year’s team—forwards Thomas Nelson and Brendan Hughes, and guard Danny McKee—but head coach Bill McKee said he has faith that four key returning will help lead a group that includes some promising players up from the junior varsity.
East Hampton brings back its leading scorer, junior guard Kyle McKee, who averaged just over 12 points per game and was the League VI Rookie of the Year last season. Joining McKee in what should be a formidable backcourt is Brandon Kennedy-Gay, who averaged more than 10 points per game and shot 50 percent from the three-point line last season. Sophomore guard Kevin Fee should be a force as well. “He just got better and better as the season went on,” Coach McKee said of Fee.
Returning senior guard Ryan Bono, who saw some limited time on the court last season, should have a bigger role this year. Guard Brendan Snow, also a senior, did not play last year but came out for the team this season.
McKee also expects contributions from junior forwards Jesus Barranco, William Stoecker, Regis O’Neil and Brandon Johnson, as well as junior guards Harvey Foulser, Ty Olszewski, Ben Carlin and Kevin Weiss. Weiss transferred from the Ross School this year.
The Bonackers won’t be a team that intimidates with size or a strong presence in the paint, but McKee believes his team can make up for a lack of size and strength in other ways.
“We’re going to be a team that’s going to shoot a lot from the outside,” he said. “And we hope to run. We have four kids who played significant minutes and are all decent shooters. So far, I’m happy with the kids that have come up from the JV—you’re just not real sure what you’re going to get at the varsity level.
“They’re working really hard,” McKee continued. “I’m excited about the season. I think there’s a lot of possibility, and it’s a group of kids that gets along well together.”
McKee and his veteran players are no strangers to close games, and he expects more of the same in a very competitive league again this year, with teams like Amityville, Bayport, Glenn and Shoreham all fielding strong teams.
The Bonackers will focus on winning enough games to make a return to the playoffs, and then would like to go deeper into the postseason than they did last year, when they lost in the first round to Harborfields on the road.
East Hampton will get on the court as the host of the Kendall Madison Tip-Off Classic on Friday and Saturday, December 5 and 6. The Bonackers will play Pierson in the second game at 6:15 p.m., after Westhampton Beach takes on Mattituck. The consolation and championship games will be played on Saturday at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
“We’re hoping to get the bleacher creatures back in the stands for those games,” McKee said, referring to the East Hampton student fans.