July 05, 2006
High School Sports Year In Review, Part 2
In the second of a two-part series, The Independent takes an in-depth look at the highlights of the 2005-2006 South Fork high school sports seasons.
One word was synonymous with the winter sports season: hoops.
Yes, basketball, both boys' and girls' dominated the chilly days of winter, warming the hearts of many local fans as they watched no less than seven teams qualify for the postseason including several that made serious runs at county championships.
The East Hampton boys' basketball team was perhaps the most intriguing team this season led by phenom guard Mike Russell. Russell, an All-State selection, established himself as one of the premier players on Long Island en route to being named Suffolk County Player of the Year and the Bonackers went 18-4 overall.
East Hampton finished the regular season as co-League V champions with Huntington, won two playoff games including a colossal victory over John Glenn and was ranked sixth best in Suffolk County before losing in the county Class A finals in a game that many believed the Bonackers would win. All-Conference/All-League forward Marcus Edwards was a superb inside force, balancing tenacious rebounding with steady scoring while Zach Brenneman, an All-League selection, gave East Hampton another weapon on the inside. Russell and his teammates captured the hearts of a town and brought excitement back to Ed Petrie's team.
The Bridgehampton boys' basketball team won a share of the League VIII title in a season that saw All-State center/forward Corey Morris flat out dominate the bulk of the Killer Bees competition while transfer Irving Fayman gave the team a legitimate outside scoring presence. Couple that with the outstanding play of Shawn Harris, another All-State selection, and Bridgehampton appeared to be a team destined for a big year.
A heartbreaking last minute loss to North Fork rival Greenport in the Suffolk Class D final was the lone low point for the Bees, which once again showed flashes of brilliance to a program that has seen its share of state titles in the past.
The Pierson boys' basketball team, under the guidance of new head coach Fred Marienfeld had a bounce back season, compiling an overall record of 13-8. The Whalers pulled off a stunning upset of Stony Brook in the Class C semifinals and reached the class final thanks to the efforts of players like Max Paul, Dave Locascio and Julien Rossow-Greenberg. One year earlier, Pierson's win-loss record stood at 4-15. Now that's some turnaround!
In girls' basketball, Southampton pulled off what would have been thought highly improbable before the start of the season, winning the Suffolk League VII title for a second straight year and reaching the Class B title game. The Lady Mariners lost that game to Wyandanch 43-41 although the way Southampton played in the game, and, for that matter, the entire season, the team had plenty of reasons to feel proud.
"I think that this season, they all realized that you have to be able to rest in knowing that you gave your best," said head coach Richard Wingfield. "They did that. This team grew as the season went on. As we moved along, I kept reminding them to accomplish the little things, with great love. Love for the game, love for each other, love for the people that came out to see us play. If we were able to do that, then we were definitely headed in the right direction."
Only a year removed from winning the Long Island Class A championship, Westhampton excelled through a season that saw their top interior player Kelly Cavallo suffer a torn ACL as the playoffs approached. The Lady Hurricanes still managed to finish in second place in League VI, recording a 11-3 record behind the steady scoring of junior guard Jen Polan before winning a playoff game and vaulting into the Class A title game, ultimately falling to John Glenn.
East Hampton's bowling team provided thrills when it traveled to Westhampton in mid February to decide the League V champion. The Bonackers needed to win several significant categories including total pins against a Hurricanes team that had defeated the Bonackers earlier in the season and Mike Graham and Robert Wooding provided the heroics as East Hampton claimed its first league title since 2002.
Graham had as good a season as a bowler is capable of having, shattering the old Long Island scoring average record (230.68) and he was named to the All-County, All-State and All-American teams.
In girls' winter track, East Hampton's Emily Hren had an All-County season and was the Long Island runner-up in the state meet.
East Hampton kept its momentum of athletic excellence going into the spring sports season with Lou Reale's softball team making headlines on what seemed to be a daily basis. This season, the Lady Bonackers defeated Islip to win the one title that eluded them the previous year, the Suffolk County Class A championship.
Senior captains Willa Johann and Kristin Carroza helped lead East Hampton to perhaps its finest season in team history and Jessie Stavola proved that great things come in young packages as the sophomore pitcher tossed a Suffolk-County-high three no-hitters along with six one-hitters en route to setting numerous school records including most strikeouts in a season.
Staying with softball, Pierson defeated Port Jefferson 3-2 in nine innings on May 29 to capture its first-ever Suffolk County Class C championship behind the gutsy pitching of sophomore star Laura Stafford before concluding the season with an appearance in the Long Island championship game.
In baseball, Pierson doubled its pleasure when the Whalers won the Suffolk County Class C championship before getting the school's first ever Long Island Class C title. Senior Andrew Mayer gave the performance of his career in Pierson's 5-2 win over East Rockaway as he went the distance in a complete game effort and also provided the game-winning hit in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The East Hampton boys' lacrosse team had its greatest season in the history of its program, finishing the season with a superb record of 14-4, a record that gave the Bonackers third place in Suffolk's Division II. Mark Scioscia had a phenomenal year, ranking first on the team in goals, assists and points and head coach Ralph Naglieri and his able staff should be commended for molding the program into a legitimate championship contender in such a short time.
The Dillon Pottish led Westhampton boys' tennis team won the League VII title for the second straight season, giving the Hurricanes four league crowns in the last six years and they completed their regular season with only one loss.
The Southampton boys' tennis team surpassed even its own expectations by winning the Suffolk League VIII title as John Ludlow proved to be the top singles player in the division.
And the East Hampton boys' golf team put a fitting adieu to the season by finishing in first place in the Conference VII/VIII Tournament at Riverhead's Indian Island Golf Course, edging Eastport/South Manor by two shots.