The Southampton girls basketball team may have lost all but two varsity players from last year’s Long Island Championship squad, but it proved in a Friday night home game against Hampton Bays that it has retained one of its trademarks—lockdown defense.
The Lady Mariners ultimately succumbed to the Lady Baymen, 38-31, but head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield was very happy with his team’s effort, considering it was the first league game and also considering Hampton Bays is one of the favorites to win the county title, with the majority of its top players back from last season. The Lady Baymen have several talented returnees, including sharp-shooting guards Trish Liotta and Alexis Fotopoulos. Southampton held the Lady Baymen to just two three-pointers in the game and also allowed the Lady Baymen just 12 halftime points. Southampton’s Noelle Hodges, the only returning starter from last year, led her team with 12 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals, while forward Sydney Katz had six points and 10 rebounds, guard Margarita Trujillo added six points, and forward Caroline Ricca had six points.
Hodges played the entire game despite picking up her fourth foul early in the second quarter. That caused Southampton to adjust on defense, forcing Hodges to more of a help-defense mentality down low while requiring other players to step up and guard Hampton Bays’ tough perimeter shooters. Wingfield said his young team did a great job playing the type of tough, man-to-man defense that has become a Southampton trademark.
“We have to play good defense until our offense catches up,” Wingfield said. He added that while players new to the varsity, like Trujillo and Ricca, might not be serious scoring threats early on in the season, he’s been pleased that they, along with the rest of the team, have made an “immediate commitment” to playing defense.
Fotopoulos led all scorers with 16 points, but did not make a three-pointer in the game.
Before the loss to Hampton Bays, Southampton breezed past a weak Stony Brook team, winning 42-12 in a non-league home game on December 9. Stony Brook failed to score in both the first and third quarters. On her own, Hodges doubled the scoring output of the entire Lady Bears team, finishing with 24 points. She also added five assists, six steals and four rebounds. Katz had six points and nine rebounds, while guard Brook-Lyn Walker, who was unable to play against Hampton Bays, had six rebounds and two steals. Saimona Ward added five points, while Ricca, Pauline Delacruz and Caitlyn Pressly each added two points.
Another non-league game scheduled for last week, against Ross, was canceled and won’t be made up. Southampton was slated to take on Westhampton Beach in a non-league game on Monday.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Friday, 12/20, vs. Babylon, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 1/3, vs. Center Moriches, 6:15 p.m.; Tuesday, 1/7, at Southold/Greenport, 6:15 p.m.