Winning the SYS Holiday Classic Tournament for the second straight season would have been a nice way to go into the holiday break for the Southampton boys basketball team, but the Mariners—who played four games in six days, including three consecutive games to finish off the week—settled for third place after defeating East Hampton on its home court, 68-48, on Sunday afternoon.
Southampton had lost, 89-78, at home to Center Moriches on Saturday night in its opening game of the tournament to get pushed to the consolation finals with the Bonackers. Center Moriches went on to defeat the Dalton School of New York City, 57-52 , to win the tournament, which was in its fifth year.
Proceeds from the tournament benefited the Southampton Youth Services Scholarship Fund.
The Mariners (2-2 League VII, 3-2 overall) and the Bonackers were tied, 34-34, at halftime on Sunday, but after a few defensive tweaks, Southampton went on to outscore East Hampton, 34-14, in the second half, including a 15-0 fourth quarter.
“[East Hampton] was shooting the ball well in the first half, and we weren’t getting out to their shooters,” Southampton head coach Herm Lamison explained. “We just did a better job of that in the second half.”
Shaundell Fishburne, a senior, filled up the stat sheet for Southampton, finishing with a game-high 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Junior Isaiah Johnson scored a career-high 17 points and had six rebounds as well. Senior Taylor Sanders posted 10 points and senior Lyle Smith chipped in with eight.
The loss to Center Moriches, which Lamison said counted as a League VII game, even though it was the opening contest of the SYS tournament, was the second consecutive game in which the Mariners allowed 80 points or more. They had lost, 80-74, at Babylon Friday night. In both games, Lamison said, his team’s inability to secure rebounds and turnovers was the main reason for the back-to-back defeats.
Southampton was leading to start the fourth quarter in both games but was outscored, 33-15, in the final frame against Center Moriches, and 19-12 in the last quarter in the loss to Babylon.
“We allowed 169 points in two games. That’s just too much,” Lamison said. “We definitely have to work harder. We have some mental lapses that tend to come back and haunt us. We have to eradicate that problem and be more aggressive and be more conscientious with the ball.”
Fishburne scored 29 points against the Red Devils, followed by Sanders with 14 and Johnson and Smith with 11 each. Fishburne also led the way offensively for Southampton against Babylon, totaling 21 points. Smith and junior Nitauke Williams scored 13 points each, while Sanders had nine.
Southampton walloped Mercy, 83-32, at home to start the week on December 17. Fishburne tallied 18 points followed by Johnson’s 16-point effort. Nasies Fulford, a junior, added 15 points and Williams and sophomore Israel Johnson each scored 11.
The Mariners enjoyed a much needed holiday break but will pick things back up on Saturday in the Eastern Long Island Approved Basketball Officials Holiday Classic Tournament at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. The first game is slated for 5:45 p.m., when the Mariners will play Bayport/Blue Point. Longwood and William Floyd are the other two teams in the two-day tournament.
Lamison said he is hoping that the experience his team will gain from playing in competitive tournaments this season will help it down the stretch this season.
“That’s the theory behind it, that you want to play the best teams you can so you can get ready for the league season,” he said. “So we’ll go up there, try and regroup, and try and come out of there with some Ws.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Saturday, 12/28, vs. Bayport/Blue Point at St. Joseph’s, 5:45 p.m.; Sunday, 12/29, at St. Joseph’s; Tuesday, 1/7, vs. Port Jefferson, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 1/10, at Wyandanch, 4:30 p.m.