Rashelle Baker, Sydney Katz come off bench to guide Southampton past depleted Stony Brook

Southampton's Sydney Katz puts up the shot against

Southampton's Sydney Katz puts up the shot against Stony Brook. (Feb. 22, 2013) (Credit: George A. Faella)

The Class BC final is often looked as a bragging rights game. The teams involved have already advanced to the Long Island championship and use the contest as both a tuneup to the LIC and a steppingstone to that other, bigger bragging rights game: the Suffolk small-schools title.

Friday night's Southampton girls basketball game against Stony Brook at Eastport-South Manor was not necessarily that.

But you could argue that for Southampton's Rashelle Baker and Sydney Katz, it was a little bit better.

Stony Brook, a Class C boarding school playing without all but one of its starters thanks to Presidents week, used all five available girls, including a seventh- and eighth-grade call-up. Southampton, out of sportsmanship, played only one of its starters at a time. The result was lopsided -- 36-10, Southampton -- but the experience was memorable, Baker said.

"The main thing was confidence," Baker said. "Starting was a real challenge, it was hard and it's not something we're used to . . . But I had fun. We did what we had to do."

Baker's smooth outside shot accounted for four of Southampton's 10 first-quarter points and Katz, a fierce presence in the paint, had six of her 10 points in the first half. Baker finished with a game-high 12, all on treys, and played all but one minute.

"It was weird when they were saying starters come out, and then it's us," said Katz, who played the entire game. "But I remembered to stay strong and not be so messy . . . Absolutely" there was added pressure.

The Mariners (14-3) led 20-4 at the half.

Stony Brook got on the board with baskets by Ali Rothaar (six points) and Mikaela Stiklickas. Eighth-grader Meghan Hutzler scored her first varsity points.

Southampton moves on to play the winner of Glenn vs. Harborfields on Wednesday night at Northport in the small schools final.

"What I want people to see and understand is that we're encouraging personal excellence," Southampton coach Rich Wingfield said. "It's more about that than rah-rah-rah competition. It's important that the children feel good about themselves when they leave here."

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