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Mar 24, 2009 1:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Bonackers fall short in state semifinal

Mar 24, 2009 1:55 PM

Throughout the 2008-09 season, the East Hampton boys basketball team has made a habit of proving skeptics wrong, and with less than two minutes left in regulation in the New York State Class A semifinal game against powerhouse Peekskill on Saturday morning at the Glens Falls Civic Center, it looked like the 
Bonackers might keep that trend alive.

After falling behind 47-38, the Bonackers went on a 10-2 run, cutting Peekskill’s lead to just one point at 49-48. But that was as close as they would get. The team ultimately succumbed in a 55-48 loss.

Peekskill suffered an overtime loss to defending champion Jamesville DeWitt in the final on Sunday.

After East Hampton senior Hayden Ward capitalized on a nice pass from junior Tyler Brenneman, cutting the deficit to one, Red Devil Darien Thomas hit a shot to increase his team’s lead to 51-48 and, with less than a minute remaining, the Bonackers were forced to foul. With only four team fouls, precious time burned off the clock as East Hampton worked on getting into the bonus. With 16.3 seconds left, Peekskill star point guard Daquan Brickhouse hit a pair of free throws to ice the game.

The Bonackers gave the highly-touted Red Devils all they could handle and put forth an impressive effort for a team that was not predicted to make a return trip to Glens Falls. East Hampton lost All-State point guard Mikey Russell and standout scorer Marcus Edwards to graduation and without that duo—which led the Bonackers to the state final last season—the expectations for this year’s team weren’t as high. But with a stifling defense and the scoring punch of seniors Hayden Ward and Jerome Russell, East Hampton proved it was still a force to be reckoned with, defending its overall Suffolk County title before stamping its ticket to Glens Falls with a win over Roslyn in the Long Island Championship.

Ultimately, the length of the Peekskill players—who effectively broke up passes and shut down scoring lanes with their long arms—and the explosiveness of Brickhouse were too much for the Bonackers.

Brickhouse started to put on a show in the third quarter, scoring six points and dishing out nice assists as part of a 10-2 run to end the quarter, which gave Peekskill a 43-36 lead.

“He did what he’s done to everybody else,” East Hampton head coach Ed Petrie said of Brickhouse. “He’s very experienced and he’s been playing with this team for three years.”

Brickhouse finished with 15 points to lead his team and was one of three Red Devils in double figures. 
Ward and Russell led all scorers with 17 points apiece, while Ward added 15 rebounds. Fittingly, Ward and Russell ended their Bonackers careers with 1,023 points each. They eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau within less than a minute of each other in the Long Island Championship.

Petrie praised both Ward and Russell for what they’ve meant to the Bonacker program during their careers. He also gave credit to senior Jarred Bowe, who stepped into a starting role this season, and along with Russell and Ward, made up the core of the team.

“They’ve been starters for three years now and, ironically, both came into the game with 1,006 apiece,” Petrie said of Ward and Russell. “They were even-steven right to the very end. They’ve been a big part of the program for three years and there aren’t too many kids who can say they’ve gone up to Glens Falls two years in a row.”

Petrie admitted that a return to the final four wasn’t something he and his staff anticipated until the latter part of the season.

“We knew we had a nice nucleus with Hayden and Jerome 
and Jarred, however, we certainly weren’t thinking of getting here,” Petrie said. “We just got through the season and the league tournament and kind of worked our way up here.

“We’re very happy to have gotten here. We wish we could have won, but we’re still pleased that we got here,” the coach said.

Ward said that it will take some time for the sting of the loss to be replaced by the satisfaction of being one of the top four teams in the state for two straight years.

“It’s tough losing and it hurts especially in a big game,” he said. 
“We definitely could have beaten these guys. It just wasn’t meant to be.

“I’m not really happy,” Ward continued. “But in a couple of days I’ll think back and be really happy with what we did.

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... Great season, Great team, Great coach. Fun to watch. Smooth, well disciplined , team players, great defense, intelligent, congrats.
By William Rodney (558), southampton on Mar 21, 09 4:28 PM
Hey Bonac!!!! Way to go......We are proud of you!!!!!
By Dorothy (3), Montauk on Mar 27, 09 12:11 PM
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