The Hampton Bays girls basketball team loves playing in its host tournament, the Coaches v. Cancer Holiday Tournament, which is evident in the fact that the Lady Baymen have now won it for four consecutive seasons. And the Lady Baymen didn’t just win the tournament over the break, they dominated.
After easily defeating Rocky Point, 68-46, on December 27, Hampton Bays (2-0 League V, 8-1 overall) wrapped up its championship with a 59-36 victory over Miller Place the following day. Rocky Point defeated Pierson, 43-21, in the consolation final.
Sophomore Alexis Fotopoulos and senior Trish Liotta represented Hampton Bays on the All-Tournament Team and Fotopoulos was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She averaged 24.5 points between the two games and was a combined 19 of 27 from the field.
Hampton Bays head coach Pat McGunnigle has been pleased with his team’s play as of late.
“I was very happy with them,” he said of his players. “We’re playing well now. We shot 40 percent from the field throughout the tournament, which is pretty good for a girls’ high school team. We’ve been shooting real well all year. We shot 46 percent in the Rocky Point game.”
Hampton Bays led Rocky Point 23-8 after the first quarter, and led 33-15 at halftime. Fotopoulos scored 25 points and had 10 steals. Liotta finished with 15 points while junior Alex Maitland-Ward had nine and senior Haley Wood chipped in with eight.
McGunnigle said that he would like to see more scoring from his post players to open up more three-point shots from the guards. Maitland-Ward and Wood did just that against Rocky Point, shooting a combined 6 for 7.
Fotopoulos led the way again in the victory over Miller Place. She finished with 24 points while Liotta had 16. Sophomore Hannah Reed contributed with 11 points and was 2 for 2 from downtown.
Hampton Bays has had a somewhat easy schedule thus far but got into the meat of it this week, having played Mattituck on Monday and Center Moriches on Tuesday. Those results occurred too late for this week’s issue and will be in next week’s issue of The Press.
It took a few weeks for the Hampton Bays boys basketball team to garner its first victory of the season but it may have come at the best time for the Baymen, at their host Coaches v. Cancer Holiday tournament. Hampton Bays defeated Southold, 63-53, on December 27 to reach the finals against Eastport South Manor the following day, where the Baymen lost, 59-26. It’s the third year in a row the Sharks have won the annual tournament at Hampton Bays.
Hampton Bays head coach Pete Meehan said another $6,000 was raised in this season’s tournament, which brings the total to $32,000 throughout the nine years of the boys and girls tournament. All funds go to the American Cancer Society.
“It’s a first-class event,” Meehan said. “The Booster Club has been taking it to the next level. All of the schools are a part of the fundraising process. The whole thing is real, real positive, and it’s just a well-run tournament.”
In terms of basketball, Meehan was ecstatic to see his team get its first victory of the season against a Southold team that plays in League VIII, a league lower than the Baymen’s, but still a very competitive team. The Settlers’ leading scorer, Liam Walker, averages 28 points per game, and he scored 32 against Hampton Bays (0-3 League VII, 1-6 overall), but he was the only player for Southold that could do anything. Alex Poliwoda, who Meehan said is second in the county in three-pointers, was held in check by senior Bayman Dan Marte. Poliwoda only made one three the entire game.
Offensively, many Baymen had career highs in the victory. Senior Phil DiPierdomenico continued his strong play this season with 21 points and 17 rebounds, both career highs. Matt Rinaldi, a sophomore, had a career-high 18 points and senior Joe Calamita had 14 points, a career high, to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Calamita jump-started Hampton Bays with back-to-back three-pointers to start the game. Calamita and Rinaldi combined for seven of the Baymen’s three-point shots made.
Hampton Bays went 16 of 28 from the free-throw line, a season high, and was 11 of 16 in the fourth quarter. The 53 points were a season-low for Southold.
“We hadn’t scored over 40 in a game all year, but we jumped all the way up to 63, so a lot of things went well,” Meehan said. “We don’t have a lot of margin of error but we shot the ball very well.”
Meehan added that his players started to believe in themselves early in the game and it’s what ultimately led to the victory.
“We had three real good practices leading up to the game, so we knew our opponent pretty well,” he said. “It didn’t take very long for them to start believing in themselves. As good as it was, though, the next night was equally bad.”
Hampton Bays trailed by just four points after the first quarter with ESM but the Sharks outscored the Baymen 19-1 in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Hampton Bays shot a dismal 3 of 17 from beyond the arc.
“Their defense was too good for our offense,” Meehan said of ESM. “They outplayed us man-to-man and were too physical for us. They forced us to do things we didn’t want to do.”
Calamita had nine points while DiPierdomenico finished with six points and eight rebounds. Both were named from the All-Tournament Team.
“In a span of 24 hours we saw how good we could be, and when things aren’t doing well, we saw how bad things can be,” Meehan explained. “As good as Southold is, in our league, they’d be fighting to get wins of their own. I think the tournament, maybe more than anything, pointed out the disparity between the leagues to a certain degree.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Tuesday, 1/14, vs. Babylon, 6:15 p.m. Boys—Friday, 1/10, vs. Mercy, 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 1/14, at Babylon, 6:15 p.m.