Gurney's Inn
January 17, 2007

Bonac Uses 17-0 Spurt To Top Rocky Point

Last Thursday the East Hampton Bonackers took their unblemished record into Rocky Point and had a scare thrown into them by the high soaring Eagles, who were 9-1 at the time, 4-1 in league play.

The game started auspiciously for Bonac as Marcus Edwards controlled the center tip to Hayden Ward, who passed to Mikey Russell cutting to the hoop. Zach Brenneman then found Alex Stipanov underneath for a 5-1 lead. Although Bonac's trapping zone defense held the Eagles without a field goal until midway through the first quarter, East Hampton missed numerous opportunities in the paint and could not pull away.

Russell finally nailed a three-pointer, but the Eagles' Dave Bonner tied the game with a three of his own. Alex Stipanov swished a 10-foot jumper to give East Hampton a slim10-8 lead at the end of the quarter. Early in the second quarter Brenneman gave East Hampton a 13-10 lead from 15 feet on an assist from Stipanov. Eric Apicella then tied the game on a three-pointer. Two free throws by Edwards followed by a three-pointer gave Bonac an 18-13 lead. The lead was short-lived as Rocky Point closed the first half on a 6-0 run to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 19-18.

Bonac coach Ed Petrie chose not to focus on his team's missed shots in the first half. "They were good percentage shots," he said. "What really bothered me is the number of offensive rebounds we gave them. Some of our guys were releasing for the fast break too soon instead of boxing out their man first. Rocky Point retrieved all the long rebounds and got up shot after shot. We could not continue to allow that, and that's what I stressed to the team at halftime."

But when East Hampton fell behind 25-20 early in the third quarter, Bonac's fans had their faith tested. And then, Jerome Russell, out of action for two games with a knee injury, suddenly started grabbing every rebound in sight. He finished with a career-high 12 rebounds, 10 in the second half.

Russell's tip-in enabled East Hampton to reclaim the lead, 27-25. Mikey Russell canned two free throws, and then Brenneman assisted to Ward, who scored at full speed to end the quarter on an 11-0 scoring spurt and a 31-25 lead.

The Bonackers continued their onslaught in the fourth quarter as Ward assisted to Jerome Russell for a three-pointer, Mikey Russell swished two free throws, and Ward added another to complete an astounding 17-0 run that gave East Hampton a 37-28 lead with three minutes left in the game.

Jerome scored on an NBA three-pointer on an assist from Mikey Russell. At that point, if anyone in the gym was under any illusions that Rocky Point could mount a comeback, Mikey Russell dispelled those notions with seven straight points, and then connected on an assist to Edwards, who nailed a jumper to end the game with Bonac victorious, 52-35.

"Jerome played big in the second half," Petrie said, "and Marcus and Zach did a great job defensively." Edwards had five steals and 14 points, and Brenneman intimidated the Eagles with five blocked shots. Mikey Russell scored 19 and Jerome chipped in with eight. Rocky Point scored more than half its points on six three-pointers and was led by Eric Apicella with 11 points.

On Tuesday, January 9, the Bonackers beat Comsewogue 72-36. "It was a good to get our reserves some extended minutes," Petrie said. In response to high scoring Mikey Russell scoring only nine points the coach said, "That was probably the fewest number of shots Mikey has taken in his entire career. He looked to get the ball to his teammates even more than usual."

Russell had five assists. Edwards, Ward and Stipanov all had eight rebounds, and Edwards had five steals. Jared Bowe score eight points off the bench and Liam Lee scored six while shooting three-for-four from the floor. Edwards and Brenneman tied for high-scoring honors with 15 points apiece.

Yesterday East Hampton looked to up its league record to 7-0 against Huntington. Tomorrow at 6:15 the Bonackers stay home to tangle with the Sayville Golden Flashes, who recently knocked off Kings Park, 73-56. "Sayville is the tallest team in the league," Petrie said. "We'll have our hands full."

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