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Aug 20, 2019 3:43 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Bridgehampton Officials Decide Killer Bees Will Have A Varsity Team This Basketball Season

The Bridgehampton boys basketball team had another successful run last season, winning the team's first ever Long Island Class D Championship. But, due to low numbers, the Bees may not have a varsity team this winter. DREW BUDD
Aug 21, 2019 6:15 PM

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 21, 5 p.m.

Ron White, the head coach of the Killers Bees and president of the Bridgehampton School Board, said late Wednesday afternoon that the decision to stick with a varsity team for the upcoming season was really a simple one.

"We've always had a varsity team. With the exception of a few times, we've never had a JV team," he said. "The ultimate goal every year is to have a varsity team, granted, we may have more underclassmen than upperclassmen at the moment, but it was really a no-brainer to go ahead with varsity.

"All the kids are raring to go, I just have to make sure I do my job and teach them as best as possible," White added.

White felt like the situation may have gotten blown out of proportion. With such a small pool of players to choose from to begin with, coaches and school officials have to assess if there are enough players each year to field both varsity and junior varsity squads. Typically, with more upperclassmen than underclassmen, the decision to go with a varsity team is an easy one to make. But with that situation reversed for the first time in years, the school wanted to make a thoughtful decision on where its players should be placed for the upcoming season.

"This is what we do every year. Sometimes the answers come a lot quicker, but each year we assess the situation," White said. "It's not always set in stone. You have to look at the numbers and try and gauge the interest of the kids and move based on what years have what. As an administration team and as coaches we figure out, is there a chance to have a JV and varsity? That was the scenario in this case. We were dealing with a situation where the bulk of the players could have been JV, but after a very brief conversation, we opted to go out there and compete to the best of our ability.

"We are a varsity team and we're going to move forward, even though we have five guys who are literally coming up from the junior high program," he added.

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 21, 4 p.m.

Through their public relations firm, Syntax, Bridgehampton officials released the following statement:

“Subsequent to the printing of the article ‘Bridgehampton School May Not Have A Varsity Basketball Team This Winter,’ a decision has been made to continue to have a boys varsity basketball team, according to Bridgehampton Principal Michael Miller.”

The release quotes Mr. Miller as saying: “This decision is based on carefully garnering input from our athletes, parents, community and coaching staff. We look forward to the continued tradition of excellence by the Bridgehampton student athletes.”

ORIGINAL STORY

The Bridgehampton School varsity boys basketball team, the Killer Bees, may have already played their final game in the team’s home gym, the Bee Hive — and basketball season is more than three months away.

The Killers Bees — one of the most storied programs on the East End, thanks, in large part, to their nine New York State Class D titles — may not have a varsity team this winter, because of a roster limited to a small number of very young and inexperienced players.

Mike Miller, principal and director of physical education at the Bridgehampton School, said that a decision on whether the school will have a varsity squad, or strictly a junior varsity team, most likely will be made at the upcoming Board of Education meeting next Wednesday, August 28, at 5 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. He said everyone in the community is welcome to attend the meeting and voice their opinions.

Neither Athletic Director Michael DeRosa nor the team’s head coach, Ron White, who is also the School Board president, returned phone calls this week seeking comment.

The school did hold a parents and players meeting on Monday night to go over different options, Jennifer Vinski, a parent of two of the players on the team, and also a member of the School Board, confirmed on Tuesday.

Ms. Vinski said that this year’s team is extremely young, with more than half of the players being freshmen. The team lost a number of key players to graduation last season, including J.P. Harding, Jahqur Carr, Jonny DeGroot and Nat DePasquale.

Ms. Vinski said the parents, coaches and administrators are working together and exhausting all avenues before making a final decision.

There are many factors at play, such as it being the final year to be able to play in the Bee Hive, with a new gym currently being constructed as part of the district’s multimillion-dollar expansion. And, after all, it is the Killer Bees, a team that attained the national spotlight after a documentary by the same name was produced.

“We’re trying to figure out what’s best for the kids, but also what’s best for the district,” Ms. Vinski said. “Nothing is decided yet. It’s been a very thoughtful process. Basketball is a big part of the school. And we do have to close out The Hive this year, and we’re aware of that. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about the kids.”

Currently, there are two seniors on the team who might not be able to play if the team becomes a JV squad. Rules dictated by Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics, make it clear that seniors are not permitted to play on a JV team.

Ms. Vinski said that is certainly another factor that all parties have to weigh.

“Is that really fair to do to two seniors? To take their final season away from them? And there is also the long-term idea that the kids could take what they learn on varsity this year and be better for it,” she explained. “But everyone is working together. The administration was there [Monday night], and they were very receptive to the kids.

“Whatever happens, the kids need to be 100 percent in, whatever the decision is,” Ms. Vinski added. “If they decided to play, they need to come to practice and be in it for the long haul and understand the commitment.”

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I'm confused. Where are the players needed to fill out the Varsity roster? Is there a massive enrollment drop leading to the lack of potential players?
By BillWillConn3 (179), Southampton on Aug 20, 19 6:57 PM
It’s not all about winning. It’s growing as a team that makes you better as a person. So your not league champs who cares . That makes them strive to be better.
Your going to take two seniors last high school year away because the team is not championship material, come on people wake up
By fish sticks (53), hampton bays on Aug 20, 19 9:00 PM
3 members liked this comment
... let 'em play.
By William Rodney (552), southampton on Aug 21, 19 9:06 AM
So 14 year old kids are going to play 17-18 years old cause of 2 seniors. If I was a parent or a board member or both I would reconsider for kids safety. Think of the kids. If I remember right BH kids share sports with EH and SAG. Why not send the 2 seniors there?
By coolref (9), East End on Aug 22, 19 10:42 PM
So 14 year old kids are going to play 17-18 years old cause of 2 seniors. If I was a parent or a board member or both I would reconsider for kids safety. Think of the kids. If I remember right BH kids share sports with EH and SAG. Why not send the 2 seniors there?
By coolref (9), East End on Aug 22, 19 10:42 PM
Soccer and Lacrosse have ruined everything
By 27dan (2777), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 22, 19 11:08 PM