The East Hampton girls basketball team bounced back from a tough loss to Hauppauge in the first round of the Hampton Bays Tip-Off Tournament on Friday by beating Eastport South Manor in the consolation game the following day.
Led by seniors Kaelyn Ward (26 points) and Courtney Dess (12 points), the Lady Bonackers defeated the Lady Sharks, 58-48, on Saturday.
Ward did most of her damage in the second half, when she scored 20 of her 26 points. East Hampton head coach Howard Wood was glad to see that even with just six points from Ward in the first half, his team took a four-point lead into halftime. Wood has talked repeatedly about how his team needs to get balanced scoring rather than relying on Ward, a fifth-year varsity player, to handle all the responsibility on offense. He said he was proud of the effort of Dess, the only other senior on the team, and added that Jackie Messemer (8 points) also had a nice game.
Another key in the win for East Hampton was the interior defense of forwards Ryan Ward, Carley Seekamp and Lexi Jones. Wood said they did a nice job defending ESM’s Kristen Anderson (14 points), a very tall player who has a strong presence in the post. He was very pleased with Jones’s play, in particular. “Lexi had four points, but she was really, really active,” he said. “And that got to be contagious. She hit the ground a few times getting important balls for us and important rebounds. She really gives us energy off the bench.”
Wood added that he felt his entire team did a nice job executing its zone defense and said if his team can perform as well in the rebounding department as it has done with the zone defense, it will be in great shape.
In a first-round 46-30 loss to eventual tournament champ Hauppauge on Friday night, a poor shooting night was the culprit for East Hampton. The Lady Bonackers scored only five points in the first quarter and had just nine at halftime, and also had trouble rebounding. Hauppauge forward Julie Williams finished with 21 points to lead all scorers and after putting up 33 points in a 63-39 win over Hampton Bays in the championship game, she was named the tournament MVP. Williams recorded her 1,000th career point in the win over Hampton Bays.
Ward led East Hampton with 16 points in the loss, and the next-highest scorer for East Hampton was Seekamp with four.
Ward has a chance to make East Hampton history this Friday night when the Lady Bonackers host Mount Sinai in a League VI game. As of Monday, she needed just 63 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau, and she would be the first East Hampton girls basketball player in program history to achieve that milestone. Wood said if she stays on the current scoring pace, she has a good chance of achieving that milestone against Mount Sinai.ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 12/11, at Miller Place, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 12/12, at Southold/Greenport, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 12/14, vs. Mount Sinai, 6:15 p.m.; Thursday, 1/3, vs. Shoreham/Wading River, 6:15 p.m.