There aren’t too many instances where a playoff victory becomes almost secondary to a player reaching a career milestone—but that’s exactly what went down Friday night in Hampton Bays.
The Hampton Bays girls basketball team took care of business on the hardwood, defeating Mercy, 69-36, in the Suffolk County Class B semifinal and, in the same game, sophomore Alexis Fotopoulos became the fastest girl in Lady Baymen history to reach 1,000 career points.
The victory advanced the top-seeded Lady Baymen to the county finals on Tuesday against Mattituck, the third seed, after it defeated Center Moriches in the other semifinal game. Results of Tuesday’s game occurred too late for this week’s sports section and, therefore, will appear in the news section of this paper and also be published online at 27east.com
Entering Friday night’s game, Fotopoulos was 20 points away from the 1,000-point plateau. She eclipsed that mark with 1:06 remaining in the first half, when she drove to the hoop and scored, giving her 1,001 points in her young career.
Fotopoulos now belongs on the same list as Theresa Carey, the last Lady Bayman to make the list, as well as Genna Kovar, Kim Tuffy, Colleen Price, Aimee Kuhn and Andrea Dwyer. Prior to Fotopoulos, Dwyer held the record as being the quickest Lady Baymen to reach 1,000 points, accomplishing that feat as a junior.
Friday’s game was stopped momentarily and Fotopoulos was able to enjoy her achievement with her teammates and coaches. She and Hampton Bays Athletic Director Drew Walker even took a photo together with the ball she used to score her 1,000th point.
Hampton Bays head coach Pat McGunnigle said he was not surprised that Fotopoulos broke the record, noting that she’s been logging a lot of minutes since she was a seventh-grader.
“Alexis, when she bleeds, she bleeds basketball,” he said. “She just loves the game, she plays the game all the time. Her father, who also played basketball, brings her to games all over the island. If the gym is open, she’s in it. She was born to be a basketball player.”
As for the game itself, it took a few minutes into the first quarter for Hampton Bays to get going. Eventually, though, McGunnigle switched the defense to a full-court trap, which led to more offense for the Lady Baymen, who built a 17-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
When play resumed after celebrating Fotopoulos’s achievement, the Lady Baymen increased their lead and enjoyed a 39-11 advantage by the half—and it was a lead they were never close to losing.
Fotopoulos scored all of her 21 points in the first half, while junior Alex Maitland-Ward added 13 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Mackenzie Tyler, an eighth-grader, scored nine points off the bench, while junior Mary Kelly Hilton also came off the bench and scored six points.
McGunnigle said while they weren’t stars in the box score, senior Trish Liotta (six points) and sophomore Hannah Reed (seven points) also had great games.
“Hannah was out of sight,” he said. “She didn’t score much, but she was rebounding, handling the ball well, passing. It was the best all-around game I’ve seen her play. And Trish was all over the court.”