Coming into this season, Hampton Bays boys basketball head coach Pete Meehan said he thought Center Moriches might be the top team in League VII.
After Friday’s game, Meehan might have to rethink that.
Southampton pummeled the Baymen on their home court, 93-35, in what was the League VII opener for both teams. Hampton Bays stuck with the Mariners for much of the first quarter, but by the time halftime rolled around, Southampton had pulled away, 49-16.
Meehan explained that the game plan was to slow Southampton’s speedy offense. The Baymen (0-1 in League VII play, 0-3 overall) were able to do that the first six minutes or so of the game, but then the Mariners created a few turnovers and went to work, scoring at will.
“First quarter, we hit some good shots, had some good possessions. But once it got away, they sped us up and there was no slowing them down,” Meehan said of Southampton. “They were very good, we’re not. Their defense sped up our offense, which was what they were trying to do. We’re not suited for that type of play.”
Hampton Bays senior Phil DiPierdomenico had another solid game in the loss. He scored a career-high 14 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. He had scored 13 points, then a career high, in the loss to Shoreham/Wading River two weeks ago. Southampton senior Shaundell Fishburne scored a game-high 26 minutes and was one of five Mariners who scored in double figures.
Hampton Bays senior Joe Calamita had a number of turnovers, but Meehan said many of them were not his fault. He finished with four assists and could have had a few more if the offense would have been able to execute a few more plays.
“He endured the brunt of Southampton’s tough defense by playing all 32 minutes of the game,” Meehan said. “I’m proud of his effort. We have to make passes available to him sooner and easier.”
The Hampton Bays girls basketball team was able to play through a stingy Southampton defense en route to a 38-31 victory at Southampton on Friday. The Lady Baymen had already defeated William Floyd, 66-34, at home in a non-league game on December 11 before grabbing their first League VII victory on Friday.
Hampton Bays (1-0 in League VII play, 4-1 overall) likes to play an up-tempo offense, so Southampton slowed it down, and it led to a low-scoring affair. Hampton Bays led just 12-10 at halftime.
“[Southampton] dribbled around half court to run the clock down, then they attacked the basket,” Hampton Bays head coach Pat McGunnigle said. “Our kids became very impatient. [Southampton] would take 30 seconds up on the shot clock, we would only take, like, two seconds off the clock. And our shooting was very poor in the first half—it was somewhere around 15 percent.”
Hampton Bays shot a little better in the third and scored 18 points, and even though the Lady Baymen were outscored 9-8 in the fourth, they were able to hang on for the win. Sophomore Alexis Fotopoulos scored 16 points and brought down 14 rebounds in the victory, while senior Trish Liotta scored nine points. Alex Maitland-Ward, a junior, corralled 11 rebounds.
“They needed this, because they have been winning by large scores,” McGunnigle said of his players. “They needed to win a tight game. They learned that every opponent is a dangerous opponent when they step on the court.”
Liotta led the Lady Baymen in the win over William Floyd, finishing with 25 points and McGunnigle said she had a great all-around game. Fotopoulos finished with 11 points, as did junior MaryKelly Hilton, who was playing in her first game of the season after missing time because of unspecified reasons.
“She’s ready to go now, and we really need her,” McGunnigle said of Hilton. “She’s a solid player. She can back up our guards, and she’s an outstanding shooter. With her, Trish, Alexis and Hannah, we have four shooters now. She has the potential to be a very, very good player.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Friday, 12/20, vs. Wyandanch, 7 p.m. Girls—Friday, 12/20, at Wyandanch, 4:30 p.m.