They may not have been pretty, but the Eastport South Manor boys basketball will take the victories.
The Sharks (1-1 League V, 6-2 overall) defeated cross-town rival Westhampton Beach, 48-45, in the opening game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at Hampton Bays on December 27, and then came back the following day and defeated host Hampton Bays, 38-28, to win the championship.
ESM had dropped its two games before the holiday break. After losing a League V game, 63-45, at home to Harborfields on December 20, the Sharks lost, 64-54, at Smithtown West (League III) in a non-league game on December 22.
“We have a lot of good teams in a our league so going into the tournament we were probably the favored team,” ESM head coach Chris Carlson said. “I don’t think we played particularly well but we came out with two Ws.
“We can’t play 18, 20 minutes of basketball and expect to win,” he continued. “If we play a full 32 minutes of basketball, we could be scary for other teams.”
ESM held a 24-14 lead over Hampton Bays in the finals of the tournament but scored just 14 points in the second half. Carlson said that the offense players got good looks at the basket, they just wasn’t hitting their shots. Defensively though, Carlson thought his team played extremely well and held the Baymen’s leading scorer, senior Luke Mercurio, to just nine points.
“We’re having trouble scoring, and it comes down to not playing really in the offseason,” Carlson explained. “Basketball is a sport that you’re really supposed to play constantly. We’re getting good looks, we’re just not putting the ball in the basket.”
ESM senior Dalton McCarthy was named MVP of the tournament after scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the championship game. He scored 29 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the win over Westhampton Beach. “He’s working for his points,” Carlson said of McCarthy. “He’s been our most consistent scorer so far this season we just need other guys to step up.”
Smithtown West hit 10 three-pointers and extended ESM’s man-to-man defense as the Sharks dropped its final game before the holiday break. The Bulls held just a one point lead after the third quarter, but used a 19-10 fourth quarter to win the game.
ESM senior Anthony Annunziata scored 21 points, while McCarthy scored 19. “It was something where I’d love to play them again,” Carlson said. “It was one of those nights where the shots were falling for them. I thought we played okay offensively, but we went 9 for 20 from free throw line and that’s not going to win us games.”
Harborfields is one of the best teams in Suffolk County, possibly Long Island, and the Tornadoes showed up in the second quarter after ESM got out to a 14-9 first quarter lead. Harborfields took a six-point lead into halftime by capitalizing on mistakes and turnovers by the Sharks. McCarthy finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Lady Sharks Split Before Break
The Eastport South Manor girls basketball team won, 46-26, at Wyandanch (League VII) in a non-league game on December 20, but then lost, 57-43, at Harborfields in a League V game on December 22 before the holiday break.
After being down just two points after the first quarter, Harborfields went on a 15-7 run in the second to take a 27-17 lead at halftime. The Lady Tornadoes then came out in the third quarter and outscored the Lady Sharks, 21-9, en route to the victory. ESM freshman Samantha Giacolone scored 13 points in the loss.
ESM (1-1 League V, 4-3 overall) outscored Wyandanch, 24-6, in the first half on the way to the win. Senior Lady Shark Kristen Webber had nine points while senior Riley Brisson and Giacolone scored eight points each.ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Thursday, 1/5, at Miller Place, 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 1/10, vs. Sayville, 5:45 p.m. Girls—Tuesday, 1/3, vs. Center Moriches, 6 p.m.; Thursday, 1/5, vs. Miller Place, 5:45 p.m.; Tuesday, 1/10, at Sayville, 4 p.m.