With only three regular season games remaining, the Hampton Bays girls basketball team sits just half a game out of first place after Mattituck defeated Center Moriches, 50-41, last week, handing the Lady Red Devils their first loss of the fall campaign.
The Lady Baymen narrowed the gap in the standings thanks to a 71-13 drubbing of Wyandanch at home last Thursday, January 23. Hampton Bays, as of Tuesday morning, sported a 6-1 record (13-2 overall), while Center Moriches is 7-1 (7-6 overall).
The Lady Red Devils previously handed the Lady Baymen their only loss of the season, though Hampton Bays head coach Pat McGunnigle said his team is gearing up for Thursday night’s rematch against Center Moriches. Hampton Bays hosts the Red Devils at 7 p.m. tonight, January 23, and the winner will most likely secure the top seed in the Suffolk County Class B playoffs and possibly a first-round bye.
“Not that we overlook any other teams, but we’ve been practicing for Mattituck and Center Moriches for a while now,” McGunnigle said. “We take 45 minutes out of every practice just to focus on those two teams, because they have similar games. They both press, they both run and play very hard. It’ll be tough but our final three games are very winnable for us.”
McGunnigle wanted to sit his starters against a weak Wyandanch team last week, but explained that he needed to keep them fresh for the upcoming games with Mattituck and Center Moriches this week. The starters jumped out to a large lead quickly in the first quarter, so McGunnigle took them out of the game, though his reserves had no problem scoring as well. The coach said his players tried their hardest not to run up the score, starting plays 20 seconds into the 30-second play clock, but many of their possessions still ended in baskets.
Hampton Bays sophomore Alexis Fotopoulos scored all 14 of her points in the first quarter. Mackenzie Tyler, an eighth-grader, scored a career-high 14 points, 11 of which came in the final quarter. Junior Mary Kelly Hilton made four three pointers to finish with a career-high 12 points and junior Alex Maitland-Ward pulled down nine rebounds.
“Mackenzie is only an eighth-grader, but she’s becoming someone I can put in and depend on,” McGunnigle said. “She has a lot of confidence and a lot of savvy.”
Hampton Bays also picked up a 73-48 non-league victory at Southold/Greenport on Friday night. Fotopoulos scored nine of her 29 points in the third quarter to help widen the lead for the Lady Baymen. Hannah Reed, a sophomore, finished with 16 points while senior Trish Liotta had 10.
The Baymen lost, 52-37, at home to Port Jefferson last Thursday, January 23. The Royals led 16-5 after the first quarter and never relinquished their lead.
Hampton Bays was scheduled to visit Wyandanch last Friday, but the results for that game were not provided. The Baymen are 0-9 in League VII, 1-12 overall.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Tuesday, 1/28, at Mattituck; Thursday, 1/30, vs. Center Moriches, 7 p.m.; Thursday, 2/6, at Babylon, 6:15 p.m. Boys—Tuesday, 1/28, vs. Mattituck; Thursday, 1/30, at Center Moriches, 6:15 p.m.; Tuesday, 2/4, at Mercy, 6:15 p.m.