The Eastport South Manor girls basketball team salvaged its season-opening week with a 44-24 victory over East Hampton in the consolation finals of the Hampton Bays Classic at Hampton Bays High School on Saturday. The Lady Sharks lost their first game of the annual tournament on Friday night, 53-44, to Hauppauge, which wound up defeating Hampton Bays to win the championship.
ESM had already lost its first game of the season, 46-14, at home to Brentwood in a non-league contest on December 4.
The Lady Sharks were able to pull away from East Hampton in the third quarter of Saturday’s game. They outscored the Lady Bonackers 16-4 in that frame.
ESM had a balanced-scoring attack. Samantha Giacolone, a junior, led all scorers with 10 points, while senior Rebecca Tooker finished with eight. Nijay Brown, a junior, had seven points, while junior Allyson Tolken added six and sophomore Laura Kesnig contributed with four.
“We definitely amped up our defensive intensity in the second half and that opened up the game a little bit, I thought,” ESM head coach Steve Giacolone said. “We’re not an offensive powerhouse, so we have to create things more with our defense.”
ESM held an 8-6 lead after the first quarter against Hauppauge, but the Lady Eagles exploded for 17 points in the second, and that wound up being the difference. Only four Lady Sharks were able to get on the score sheet in the loss, with Giacolone leading all scorers with 21 points. Tooker and Brown scored 11 and 10, respectively.
Coach Giacolone said there were many factors that led to his team’s lopsided loss to Brentwood earlier in the week. The Lady Indians led 15-3 after the first quarter.
“Brentwood is a very, very talented team,” Giacolone said. “They put tremendous pressure on you defensively and we want to get to that level. Things have to change.”
Trailing for most of the game against Shoreham/Wading River on Friday, the Sharks came back at home to snag a 44-39 non-league victory from the Wildcats. Mike Cestare, a senior, hit a three-pointer with 90 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score, then senior Chris Goncalves hit a pair of free throws with 1:16 left to give ESM its first lead of the game. ESM held Shoreham scoreless the rest of the way.
“They were running the same sets as they were in the first half,” ESM head coach Chris Carlson said of Shoreham. “We made some defensive adjustments at halftime, changed the way we were defending them and the kids did a good job.”
Goncalves finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds while senior Dennis Sullivan had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Cestare finished with 11 points.
The Sharks received tough news last week when they found out that senior Mat Annunziata will be lost for the entire season after tearing both his ACL and MCL. He is due to have surgery the day after Christmas, according to Carlson. Thomas Biasetti, a senior, will fill in for Annunziata in the starting lineup going forward.
ESM will be getting Dylan Demasi back this week. He had a slow start to the season and didn’t have enough practices to appear in a game until now. So the starting lineup for the Sharks will be Cestare and Sullivan at the one and two spots, respectively, Biasetti at the three, Demasi at the four and Goncalves at center. Dan McCormick, a junior and first-year varsity player, will now be the first player off the bench.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Friday, 12/13, at Islip, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 12/18, vs. Southold/Greenport, 5 p.m.Boys—Friday, 12/13, vs. Islip, 5:45 p.m.; Saturday, 12/14, vs. East Hampton, 1:45 p.m.; Tuesday, 12/17, at Miller Place, 5:45 p.m.