It’s been four years since the Southampton girls basketball team has had a winning season, but all signs point to that trend stopping this year.
Of course Richard “Juni” Wingfield, the ultra positive head coach of the Lady Mariners, said that he’s had a number of winning seasons since many of his former players have gone on to do great things after high school, but even he admits that even though this year’s team is young, it has an opportunity to make it back to the postseason.
“We’re starting to see the talent pool again shift,” he said. “I really believe this team is capable of making the playoffs. That is not a lofty goal now.”
Southampton will be led by a pair of senior captains in Taylor Pike and Arianna Dozier. Wingfield said that the two senior captains have the respect of their underclassmen, so much so that they can run an entire practice basically by themselves. The Lady Mariners will rely on their leadership and experience, especially early on, since the majority of the team is so young. Maddy Taylor, Gabi Arnold, Riley Zorko, Christine Delgado, Alysha Thomas, Caraline Oakley, Jadah Duroseau and Carli Cameron will all see time on varsity this season. Ashanti Gumbs is no longer on the team after transferring to Riverhead.
Wingfield said this year’s team is so talented and athletic that he could possibly go back to his trademark full-court press, something he hasn’t done on a consistent basis since sisters Paris and Noel Hodges—who graduated in 2013 and 2014, respectively—were on the team.
After playing in Class A the past few seasons, Southampton is back down to Class B where it had played for numerous years. It will play in League VI with mostly Class B schools in Babylon, Center Moriches, Hampton Bays, Mattituck, Port Jefferson and Southold/Greenport; Class C school Pierson/Bridgehampton; and Smithtown Christian, a Class D school. Mattituck is the defending Class C county champion but has since graduated a number of its top players. Babylon reached the county final against Mattituck and returns most of its team, but Wingfield thinks Pierson is the early favorite to win the league title.
The Lady Mariners start the season with a non-league game at Amityville this Saturday, December 1, at 2 p.m. They then have back-to-back games with Smithtown Christian, traveling up island on Thursday, December 6, at 4:30 p.m. and then they’ll host the Lady Knights on December 12 at 6 p.m.
The Southampton boys basketball team will try and continue its recent success without a pair of players that helped lead it the past few years in Elijah Wingfield and Micah Snowden. Wingfield graduated and is now playing at SUNY Geneseo. Snowden has transferred to Center Moriches for his senior year to add to what was an already talented Red Devils squad that reached the state finals last season.
Southampton head coach Herm Lamison admitted that it was tough losing both players, particularly Snowden to a transfer.
“He was a very large part of the team and my success with three consecutive Long Island Championships. I think if he was here we’d be in a better position, but he’s there now and we’re going to move forward with what we’ve got. I think we can pleasantly surprise some people.”
With Wingfield and Snowden out of the picture, Marcus and Marquise Trent are really the only players returning that played a lot of minutes last season. Senior Christian Wheeler and juniors Dakoda Smith, Sincere Faggins, Lucas Bontempo, Artemi Gavalas and James Malone are all in line for increased roles. Jomel De La Cruz, Steve Kraszewski, and Lebron Napier are all first-year varsity players.
Even though the Mariners still saw their share of success playing in Class A the past few years, Lamison pointed out that they were the smallest Class A team on Long Island and that moving back down to Class B should be a bit of a reprieve. But that doesn’t necessarily mean things get easier. Center Moriches is still the top team to beat in League VII, and Babylon and Mattituck typically have strong teams. Hampton Bays and Port Jefferson also play in the league along with the only Class A team in the league, Elwood/John Glenn.
With just seven schools in League VII this season, all of the schools had to pick up eight non-league games to fill out their schedules, which means December will be a busy month for the Mariners. They’ll be playing in the Kendall Madison Tip-Off Classic at East Hampton on December 7 and 8 and then a few weeks later Southampton will host its own two-day tournament, the Reverend Marvin Dozier Memorial Tournament, on December 21 and 22 that will feature Hampton Bays, St. John The Baptist and Bridgehampton. Reverend Dozier was a Southampton resident and the pastor at Unity Baptist Church in Mattituck for the past 30 years. He died at the age of 66 this past June after battling stomach and colon cancer. The Mariners will also continue playing in the Eastern Long Island Officials Holiday Classic at Suffolk County Community College in Selden on December 28 and 29.
Southampton plays its first league game at Mattituck on December 14 and will host its first league game December 19 against Center Moriches.