PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y — This one stung.
Bridgehampton’s reign as state Class D champions is over and the Killer Bees were their own worst enemy.
“We gave up too many transition baskets and we weren’t strong with the ball,” coach Carl Johnson said after his team was ousted by Clark Academy, 67-56, last night in a state regional final at Pace University.
The Dobbs Ferry (Westchester County) school was particularly effective into turning turnovers into easy points in the second quarter, when the Knights outscored the Bees 16-3 to erase an 18-12 deficitand take a 35-23 halftime lead.
“Three points in an entire quarter,” Johnson said, shaking his head ruefully. “I can’t remember the last time we did that. You’re not going to win many games that way.”
Foul trouble and poor shooting also plagued the Killer Bees. Forward Josh Lamison (14 points, 10 rebounds) had to sit out much of the third quarter with four fouls and point guard Tylik Furman (15 points) played the fourth quarter with four fouls.
“We’re used to playing in foul trouble,” Johnson said. But it was clear on several key possessions that Lamison and Furman had to allow layups or risk fouling out.
Andre Carthorn (20 points) and Taiguam Johnson (19) helped Clark (13-8) build a lead as large as 14 points three times in the third quarter. But Bridgehampton displayed some championship grit, scoring the final seven points of the period, including two acrobatic drives by Furman, to cut the deficit in half, 46-39 entering the fourth.
Lamison ignored his foul trouble and banged inside for eight fourth-quarter points as the Bees got to within 58-54 with 2:17 left. “I thought we had the momentum right there,” Johnson said. “But they were hungrier and thirstier. We were definitely careless with the ball and they were more aggressive.”
The Knights clinched a trip to Glens Falls next weekend with a 7-0 run that included layups by Carthorn and Johnson on stolen, errant passes. Elijah Jackson (12 points), normally a deadly long-range shooter, missed three open three-pointers in the last two minutes. He wasn’t alone. “We had a lot of open looks and a lot of missed opportunities,” Johnson said. “The shots just didn’t go down. It’s part of the game.”
The veteran coach and former Bridgehampton star guard was effusive in his praise for seniors Lamison and Furman. “They gave me five years on the varsity and in four of those five years we went to the regional finals,” Johnson said. “A lot of players would love to have careers like they had. What more can you do?”
The tears that Furman and Lamison shed afterward was their answer: They didn’t want the ride to end.