The Bridgehampton boys basketball team started the season with only five players, and as more joined, the Killer Bees began to show they shouldn’t be overlooked.
“We started moving a little bit, started getting into shape,” coach Ron White said. “And then we were like ‘Wow, man, if we played like this the whole season, we’d be doing something.’ ”
Even after losing their first six games of the season, the Killer Bees reached the state Class D Southeast Regional championship before losing to Newfield (Finger Lakes region), the defending state runners-up, 61-44, at Center Moriches Friday night. They finished the season with eight players and a 9-12 record.
“This season was a true tale of working hard,” Elijah White, who had 12 points, said. “We started off the season 0-6 and we worked hard every practice. Once conference play began, we started to show what we were made of. We came together and we started to play like we’re supposed to. I still don’t think we’ve played our best game yet.”
Luckily for White and his teammates, they still have a whole season to build off as all eight players are eligible to return.
“We’re going to learn from this,” the sophomore said. “This is going to be the fire in our stomach that pushes us through the offseason, through preseason, everything. This is going to be what keeps us going.”
And he said there wasn’t a moment during their season in which he questioned how far the team could go.
“I always have faith in us so I always thought we were going to make it to states,” White said. “At this point in the season, I thought we were going to be winning this game because we worked hard all season and I think that we fought as hard as we could today.”
Junior J.P. Harding had 18 points and sophomore Nae’Jon Ward added 14 points — all coming in the second half — for Bridgehampton.
“I feel like on the offensive end, I should work much better on my shot,” said Ward, who hit three three-pointers in the second half. “If I I feel more confident in my jump shot, I’ll shoot the ball more.”
Joshua Wood had 22 points and Jacob Humble added 15 points for Newfield (22-2).
“It was a learning experience,” Ron White said. “We’re going to continue to grow. We have a very young team and I’m hopeful that everybody will be back next year. We’ll be back.”