There may be nothing more gratifying for a parent than to watch their children grow into healthy adults.
Southampton girls basketball head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield likened that to what he’s seen from his team recently after its first back-to-back victories of the season. The Lady Mariners defeated East Hampton, 32-25, in a non-league home game on December 22, then defeated Hampton Bays, 51-25, in their first game of the new year on Friday night. With the victories, Southampton improved to 2-4 in League VI, 3-5 overall.
“My toddlers are growing,” Wingfield said after a Sunday night practice. “Certainly we make some mistakes, but then we have a shiny moment and find out that wow, it really does work. We’re having more and more of what we like to call ‘awe moments.’ They’re becoming very creative and they love it.”
Southampton led a very young and inexperienced Hampton Bays team pretty much from start to finish on Friday night. The Lady Mariners led 12-6 after the first quarter and put things out of reach with a 17-6 third quarter to lead, 41-22, at halftime. Freshman Madison Taylor had 16 points and six assists to lead Southampton, and senior captain Taylor Pike had 13 points and eight assists. Sophomore Christine Delgado chipped in with eight points.
The Lady Mariners’ 51 points were by far a season high, surpassing the 39 points they had reached on two separate occasions earlier this season. Wingfield said the uptick in offense has come as the team has grown together this season, but he also said that his team is getting after it on defense. They have held East Hampton, Hampton Bays and Center Moriches to 25 points each, and they also held an athletic Mattituck team to 44 points.
“My whole style is always about defense first,” Wingfield said. “If you play good, hard defense you can give yourself a chance. Offense comes and goes. You’ve heard of the saying, having a lid on the basket, well it’s true. Some nights the offense will not be there so sometimes you have to turn your defense into your offense, and I think the girls are getting that.”
Pike, more often than not this season, has led Southampton in scoring, but as Wingfield pointed out, as the team’s only senior—since Arianna Dozier had a season-ending injury—Pike has done a really nice job of leading the team.
“Taylor is the epitome of being a leader,” he said. “Her check engine light is on most of the time, with a black eye here, a bruise there. The hardest thing for Taylor is getting her to slow down. She’s usually going 90 miles a minute, so fast that she breaks the play down. So I’ve asked her to have more discipline in running the sets because it is so helter-skelter sometimes, and she’s done such a great job as our only senior.”
Southampton played three league games this week, with Pierson/Bridgehampton on Monday, and Port Jefferson on Wednesday and it’s scheduled to play at Babylon on Friday at 6:15 p.m.