Both the East Hampton boys and girls hoops teams will have a new look this year, with new head coaches on the sidelines.
The boys team welcomes Dan White, who resigned his post as the varsity head coach at Pierson after seven years to fill the vacancy at East Hampton. And last year’s girls varsity head coach, Howard Wood, has joined the Bonac boys program and will serve as an assistant coach to White, along with Bonac alum Marcus Edwards. Kelly McKee, the varsity girls assistant coach for the last three seasons, will fill Wood’s shoes.
White inherits a team that lost four of its five starters to graduation after a successful season that included a League VI regular season title and a narrow loss to Harborfields in the Suffolk County Class A Championship. Junior point guard Jack Reese is the lone returning starter, and while he was more of a facilitator last year, he will need to become a more consistent scorer and leader to help offset the loss of leading scorers Brandon Kennedy-Gay and Kyle McKee—both explosive guards and lights-out shooters—as well as frontcourt starters Regis O’Neil and Brandon Johnson. White has faith in Reese.
“He’s a good, quick, physical guard, and he’s going to need to score more and still make his teammates better, but I think he can do it,” he said. “He’s embracing the role.”
The team is young, with four sophomores and a freshman. Sophomores Vladimir Rodriguez and Nathan Wright should see time in the frontcourt, along with senior newcomer Phil Zablotsky, who impressed White in a scrimmage last week. Sophomore Malachi Miller is a capable guard who will also handle the ball to spell Reese, and freshman Jackson Murphy, who moved into the district from Oregon, is a promising shooter. White described senior Jordan Foster as a “long, athletic swingman,” and added that his younger brother, sophomore Turner Foster, should see plenty of time on the court as well.
East Hampton will play in League VI along with Shoreham, Mount Sinai, Glenn, Bayport and Hampton Bays, as well as Class A newcomers Wyandanch and Southampton. Southampton moved into Class A this season, after winning both the Suffolk County and Long Island Class B Championships last year.
East Hampton will open the season by hosting Kings Park in a non-league game on December 7 (6:15 p.m.) and will visit Westhampton for a non-league game at noon on December 10.
The Lady Bonackers have not seen much success in recent years, but McKee is hoping a young group with a few key seniors can see steady improvement as the season progresses. Senior Jacqui Thorsen will be the team’s primary ball handler as a guard/forward, while sophomore Luz Wood-Monzon—Howard Wood’s daughter—joins the team this year and could be a breakout player, according to McKee, who said she will also help handle the ball. Senior guard Alex Rutkowski and junior forward Madison Schenck are two important returning players, while freshmen guards Alden Powers and Emma Silvera will see time on the floor.
“We’re young so we’ll see what happens,” McKee said. “The girls have been working hard.”
McKee added he is happy to have the help of assistant coach Heidi Wilson this year.
“She’s terrific and the girls love her,” he added.
East Hampton will play in League VI along with Shoreham, Mount Sinai, Glenn, Bayport, and Hampton Bays, as well as newcomers Wyandanch and Southampton, who both failed to make the playoffs in Class B/League VII last year.
East Hampton will start the season at home against Sayville in a non-league game on December 6 at 4:30 p.m. and will open the league season at home against Mount Sinai on December 20 at 6:15 p.m.