The East Hampton boys basketball team didn’t get off to the start it wanted to in its host Kendall Madison Tip-Off Classic, which was held on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The early-season tip-off tournament is named after East Hampton graduate Kendall Madison, who was a standout three-sport athlete in basketball, football and spring track, and was killed in January 1995 at the age of 21. He was a member of East Hampton’s New York State Class B Championship basketball team in 1990 and was an All-County, All-League and MVP football player who went on to play football at the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship. The Kendall Madison Foundation and Kendall Madison Scholarship Fund were established in his memory to assist others to achieve their dreams. Madison was posthumously inducted into the East Hampton High School Hall of Fame in 2012.
After losing their first game of the tournament, 79-78, in overtime to Mattituck on Friday, the Bonackers faced Southampton on Saturday and lost 75-55. In the loss to Mattituck, senior Bladimir Rodriguez broke his foot and could miss about a month and a half to two months, according to head coach Dan White. To add insult to injury, East Hampton was leading Mattituck by three points with 15 seconds remaining in regulation when Ryan Seifert nailed a three pointer from well over 20 feet away as time expired, knotting the game up at 69-69 and forcing overtime, where Jayden Ford scored on a tip-in with 11 seconds remaining to give the Tuckers the lead and eventual victory.
In hindsight, White said, he could have had his players intentionally foul Mattituck with about seven seconds remaining in regulation to force them to try and tie the game from the free throw line, but, Seifert threw up a last-ditch effort shot and happened to make it. Junior Jeremy Vizcaino scored a team-high 23 points, senior Turner Foster scored 16, and Rodriguez, before his injury, had 14.
Without Rodriguez, East Hampton had a hard time rebounding against an athletic Southampton team. White said his team probably allowed more than 25 offensive rebounds and it wound up being a key point in the game. He also would like to see a few of his players be a bit more aggressive on offense. Vizcaino led the Bonackers once again with 14 points and Foster had 10.
“I wasn’t disappointed with our effort on Saturday. Probably the biggest issue we had, besides rebounding, with Bladimir out, is that we weren’t really prepared. We weren’t able to get any practice time in to make adjustments without him in the lineup, but we had a good practice yesterday,” White said on Tuesday. “We’re going to have to play more guys, put more pressure on the ball. We do have some quick guards. It’s probably going to be an uphill battle all year with rebounding, but if we commit to it we can try and make it a push with teams instead of them out-rebounding us.”
It’s going to be a bit of a quick turnaround for East Hampton—its first league game was Tuesday at Bayport/Blue Point and it is scheduled to play at Shoreham/Wading River on Friday night at 6:45 p.m.—but White is encouraged with where his players are mentally after the big injury to Rodriguez.
“I like our kids’ character. I’m not concerned where their heads are at,” he said. “I think they’ll compete. I guess what I can’t do is I don’t know how it’s going to play out without Bladimir, but as long as we can shoot the ball, we’ll be in a lot of games.”
The East Hampton girls basketball team opened the season with a 59-10 League VI loss at Westhampton Beach on Friday night. It hosted Elwood/John Glenn on Tuesday night and will host Sayville on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.