The Southampton boys basketball program has been synonymous with success for decades, and the Mariners and longtime head coach Herm Lamison will be intent on keeping it that way this season despite the added challenge of moving up into Class A.
It’s been a year of change for all the sports programs at Southampton High School this season, as a slight increase in enrollment numbers bumped nearly every team into a higher league and classification. The Mariners should be able to weather the storm, however, with a good group of experienced players from last year’s Suffolk County and Long Island Class B Championship team returning to the lineup.
The biggest transition for the team will be in the backcourt, as the Mariners lost All-County point guard Israel “Izzy” Johnson to graduation. Johnson, who is now the starting point guard at Johnson and Wales University, led the team in nearly every statistical category, including scoring and assists, and was the starting point guard for three consecutive years, leading his team to the county and Long Island titles in each of those seasons.
Junior Elijah Wingfield, heading into his third year on the varsity, will slide into Johnson’s role, and Lamison said he’s confident Wingfield can handle the job, pointing out that Wingfield has plenty of varsity experience under his belt and worked hard over the summer, playing in tournaments.
Southampton also lost starting guard Gene Scott, a tenacious, energetic player who was the team’s best defender.
Along with Wingfield, Southampton also brings back sophomore Micah Snowden, a long, tall player with the ability to play anywhere on the court. Snowden was an All-Rookie and All-Conference player last year, and can score inside or go outside, hit shots, and also distribute and handle the ball, making him a versatile threat on offense.
Senior forward Timmy Alejo and senior guard Chad Pike—the team’s top three-point shooter—return to the team after seeing plenty of time on the floor last year, while senior Aaron Kreyzewski is another returning player that Lamison expects a lot from. Kreyzewski has size but can also shoot, handle the ball and pass, so he will be key to the team’s success as well.
Returning senior guards Tyren Smith and Andre Franklin and sophomore guard Amar Gardner—up from the JV—will join Wingfield and Pike in the backcourt, while senior power forward Avory Johnson will provide size up front. Junior guard Eddie Arnold Jr. returns to the varsity as well, but will miss the first few weeks with a broken finger.
Southampton will play in League VI along with East Hampton, Bayport/Blue Point, Shoreham, Mount Sinai, Glenn, Hampton Bays and Wyandanch.
The Mariners will kick off the season with the SYS Holiday Tournament on December 16 and 17 at home, playing the Dalton School from New York City on the first night at 7:45 p.m. Games the following night will be at 6 and 7:45 p.m. The Mariners will play at Wyandanch on December 20 at 4:30 p.m. to open the League VI season.
The Southampton girls basketball team is moving into League VI this year as well, and will compete against the same teams as their male counterparts—East Hampton, Shoreham, Mount Sinai, Glenn, Bayport, Hampton Bays and Wyandanch.
The Lady Mariners failed to make the postseason in Class B last year after winning just two games in League VII. Southampton lost three starters to graduation—Tavia Jeffries, Gianni Willis and Chloe Scheuch—along with Chloe Schmidt, who came off the bench. But the team brings back a good group of senior leaders and several promising underclassmen. Seniors Margarita Trujillo, Sita Kadash, Myana Smith and Shelby Pierson are back, while head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield says that sophomores Taylor Pike and Ayana Ray and freshman Ashanti Gumbs are the wave of the future for the team. Pike will be a ballhandler for the Lady Mariners along with Gumbs, who led the JV in scoring last season with 20 points per game. Wingfield said he also expects contributions from junior forward Fiorella Santacruz, a volleyball player who gives the team size up front, and sophomore Arianna Dozier, another promising young player. Freshman Grace Middlekauf, junior Tracey Lepiz, sophomore Jadah Duroseau, junior LaDejah Baker, junior Grace Lynch, junior Amira Nation, and sophomore Alexis Phillips round out the team.
Southampton will open the season at home against Smithtown Christian in a non-league game on December 1 at 4:30 p.m. and will visit Rocky Point for another non-league game on December 14 at 4 p.m. before opening the league season on December 20 at home against Wyandanch at 6 p.m.