Injuries and inconsistent play have the East Hampton girls basketball team off to a 1-4 start in League VI, 2-7 overall, but head coach Howard Wood is hoping that upcoming games on home court, as well as the return of some key players, can help his team start moving in the right direction.
The Lady Bonackers earned their first league win of the season at home on January 7, beating last-place Mount Sinai 49-45. Jackie Messemer and Ali Harned each scored 12 points, while Merissah Gilbert added 10 and Sophia DePasquale had eight.
“They came out fairly well and they played hard,” Wood said of his team. “They played hard for 32 minutes.”
East Hampton was particularly sharp when it mattered most, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Wood said his team was unable to find the same level of intensity in a 54-26 loss at Miller Place two days later. He said that while Miller Place (3-2, 5-5) is a tough and physical team, it wasn’t a game in which he expected his squad to be overwhelmed by sheer talent. The Lady Bonackers were outscored 19-7 in both the first and second quarters, putting them in a big hole by halftime.
“I told the girls the only thing we did was come and take a bus ride to Miller Place,” he said. “I don’t like to lose, period, but just go down fighting for 32 minutes regardless of the score. [Miller Place] jumped right on us, and when you go down by 10 points in the first two minutes, it’s hard to come back.”
Messemer led East Hampton with seven points.
In a non-league home game against Westhampton Beach on Saturday, the Lady Bonackers were edged, 36-33. While the final score was close, the game was similar to the Miller Place loss in that East Hampton allowed the Lady Hurricanes to take a big lead early on.
“We came out letting them do what they wanted to do, especially on the boards,” Wood said.
East Hampton was down 14-4 after the first quarter, but had cut the deficit to three entering the final quarter. Still, it could not get over the hump.
Wood remains hopeful that things might start to look up for his team, as several injured players were possibly on their way to coming back. Kathryn Fleming, who was hurt before Christmas, is day-to-day and could return soon, while Harned, who suffered concussion-like symptoms after getting hurt in the Miller Place game, could be back soon as well. Lexi Jones got hurt in practice on Monday, possibly straining a muscle, but Wood does not think she will be out too long.
East Hampton’s next three games were scheduled at home, so Wood thinks that should give his team an edge as well.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 1/14, vs. Bayport/Blue Point, 6 p.m.; Thursday, 1/16, vs. Shoreham/Wading River, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 1/18, vs. Elwood/John Glenn, 11 a.m.; Wednesday, 1/22, at Pierson (non-league), 6:15 p.m.