November 29, 2006

Killer Bees Looking For Title

Despite the loss of All-State forward/center Corey Morris and All-County guard/forward Shawn Harris, the Bridgehampton varsity boys' basketball team once again appears to be a serious contender for both the Suffolk League VIII title and the Class D championship this season.

A collective gasp was heard around town last spring when folks learned that Morris would be moving back to North Carolina for his senior year after a season in which he dominated the low post of League VIII. Couple that with the graduation of Harris, one of the Killer Bees' (12-2, 14-4 overall) top playmakers the past few seasons, left many wondering what was to become of one of the most successful sports programs on Long Island.

Thankfully, the emergence of players such as Irving Fayman, Terrence Hires and Brandon LaPointe gives Bridgehampton three reasons why they might be holding championship awards this February.

Fayman, a senior, is a pure scorer, a silky smooth ball-handler and a coach's dream that is hands down the best free throw shooter in the league. He can beat a defender one-on-one with little difficulty and can either shoot it over you or dribble around you. Only Greenport's Ryan Creighton can match Fayman's offensive talents.

LaPointe, also a senior, is a six-two power forward who plays the game with smarts and toughness and can get to the right place on the court when needed. He is also a good shooter and knows how to use screens to his advantage. Hires, a junior who missed nearly half the season due to various injuries, is very quick on the floor, has great instincts and can finish. He's one of the most intriguing players to watch in League VIII this season because if he can stay healthy, a breakout year can be expected.

"You can't lose two players like Shawn and Corey and not have it make an impact," said Bridgehampton assistant coach Joe Zucker. "But every team [in our league] has lost players this season. Greenport, Pierson and Shelter Island graduated a lot of starters and Stony Brook lost Steve Rooney, who transferred. But we're still going to need Irving and Terrence to step up this season. Irving will be hard to contain. The key is how he plays with Terrence. On any given night, those kids can give teams problems."

The Bees have a solid nucleus in place with Fayman, LaPointe and Hires and the continued improvement of seniors Max Spooner and CJ Schenck gives Bridgehampton two more players that it can rely on during close games. Sophomore Pablo Londono, a 5'11" forward will also see action this season.

New faces include junior Jake Patterson, an athletic six-footer that is quick and figures to be a defensive specialist along with freshmen Ainsley Wyche, Jamal Hires and Ceasar Dandes.

Wyche was the leading scorer from the 7th and 8th grade team last season. He's a very diminutive player whose game is much bigger than his stature. Wyche displays much talent and could add a spark coming off the bench. "He really loves the game," Zucker said. "He has great instincts, can handle the ball and find the open spots and he's gutsy. He'll be a contributor. All of our freshmen will get playing time."

Jamal Hires is Terrence's younger brother; a six-foot forward that only figures to improve with experience while Dandes is another tall (6'2") athletic forward with budding potential. "I think he's going to be a player. He definitely has the skills," Zucker remarked.

"We're basically a team with three set spots that is going to mix and match at the other two positions. I think that the key is finding some offense from the other two [players] that we put in. Really, I'm impressed with our young kids. They look very promising. I think they will have a lot to do with how we do in the league," said Zucker.

He added, "We have very little margin for error . . . we can't have injuries or have key guys sitting on the bench in foul trouble though. I think that we're going to have better chemistry [this season]. We have 10 kids and they're all going to play. The real question is going to be what we're like at the end of January."

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