It’s the little things that can make all the difference.
That was Southampton boys basketball head coach Herm Lamison’s take-away from his team’s 57-52 home loss to Babylon on Thursday night. The Mariners lost to the Panthers in a close game for the second time this season, dropping them to 6-3 in League VII, 9-3 overall. Babylon improved to 8-1, 10-2 overall, tied for first place in the league with Center Moriches (8-1, 10-1).
The Mariners were down by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter before cutting the lead to 54-52 with just less than a minute left after Shaundell Fishburne hit a three. But on Southampton’s next possession, Fishburne came up short on a drive to the basket that would have tied it. Southampton fouled Babylon’s Stephen Schweitzer after that, and he increased the lead to 55-52 by hitting one of two shots. Fishburne took another three after that that would have tied the game, and missed it, before Jake Carlock hit two free throws to provide the final margin.
Lamison said Babylon simply came up with the plays when it mattered most at the end, and he added that in all three of his team’s losses, failure to execute late in the game has been a problem.
“It’s the same thing each time,” he said. “We’ve got to make a commitment to do the little things, because those are the things that magnify themselves at the end of close games—picking up a loose ball or an offensive rebound here or there. We need just a little more effort and we’ll get over the top.”
Lamison added that the Panthers are a legitimate county title contender and a tough team to beat on any night. Still, he doesn’t feel it’s an insurmountable task for his team.
“Babylon is a very good team,” he said. “They’re big. They have a winning demeanor and they just keep coming at you. But I think it’s probably more so what we’re not doing as opposed to what other teams are doing to us. We’re not being consistent, and we’ve become complacent in some areas and we need to work that out.”
Fishburne led Southampton with 17 points, while Izzy Johnson had eight. It was the first time in four games that Southampton didn’t have at least four players in double figures, and only the second time this season that the Mariners had just one player in double figures.
The Southampton girls basketball team also lost to Babylon in its only game last week, falling 46-35 in Babylon on Friday. The loss dropped the Lady Mariners to 2-5 in League VII, 5-6 overall, meaning they would need to win all three of their final games to qualify for the playoffs.
Southampton was down just one point going into the fourth quarter, but when leading scorer Noelle Hodges fouled out less than two minutes into the final frame, it all went downhill for Southampton. The Lady Mariners were outscored 14-4 in the final period, with all four points scored by Hodges before she fouled out.
“That was the end of the ball game after that,” Southampton head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield said. Not only is Hodges Southampton’s leading scorer, but she is their point guard and primary ball carrier, setting up the offense for the team. Despite fouling out, she finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals, and was double-teamed the entire game, as is customary. Hodges is the only returning starter from last season’s county and Long Island championship team.
Saimona Ward finished with 11 points for Southampton, hitting three three-pointers, while Sydney Katz collected 12 rebounds. Chloe Scheuch finished with seven points.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Monday, 1/27, at Mercy, 6:15 p.m.; Wednesday, 1/29, at Center Moriches, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 1/31, vs. Wyandanch, 6:15 p.m. Girls—Tuesday, 1/28, at Center Moriches, 6:15 p.m.; Saturday, 2/1, vs. Mercy (non-league) at St. Joseph’s College, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 2/4, at Wyandanch, 4:30 p.m.