Bridgehampton and Smithtown Christian were the only teams in the Suffolk Class D Tournament. They owned the best records against the others in the fourth-team classification. So they began at the end — in the championship game.
As it turned out, Bridgehampton built a 12-point halftime lead Wednesday night at Westhampton and held on for its first county title in four years. The Killer Bees won, 45-38, behind 18 points from eighth-grade point guard Jai Feaster.
"It feels amazing, to be honest," Feaster said, "especially coming from last year, losing almost every game [actually 0-6], and then to be able to be Class D champions, it’s really good."
So Bridgehampton (6-13), which has no seniors, will face Pierson, a 68-52 winner over Greenport in Wednesday’s Class C title game, at noon on Saturday at Sachem East in Suffolk’s overall tournament. And the Killer Bees will play in the Class D Southeast Regional semifinals March 8.
"I commend the guys," Bridgehampton coach Ron White said. "Tough game. Smithtown didn’t give up the entire time."
The Killer Bees led 34-25 after three. Isaiah McCarter scored inside to cut it to 38-31 with 1:31 left, but eighth-grader Alex Davis countered by making two free throws six seconds later. Kris Vinski hit a free throw to extend the advantage to 41-31 with 1:04 remaining.
The Knights (5-15), who got 12 points from Danny Voisich, chipped it down to 43-38 on a McCarter layup with 17.8 on the clock. But Vinski buried two free throws at 6.2.
"We’ve got a lot of work to do — ball preservation, ball movement, acknowledging that when you’re up, ball control," White said.
Diego De Los Santos scored six points in the first 2:23 of the second quarter to help Smithtown Christian go up 13-11.
Then Vinski nailed a three and Feaster hit a left elbow jumper and a long bank shot. A 16-2 quarter-closing burst was in full motion. It was 27-15 Bridgehampton at the break.
The Knights lost their lone senior during that run. De Los Santos, in his first game back from a mild concussion, landed on the back of his head with 3:44 left in the first half. The 6-3 forward left to be checked out at a hospital.
Coach Dan Skaritka said he was "definitely missed." Skaritka also lamented his team’s mistakes.
"We’re definitely young," he said. "I think we’ll be back next year against Bridgehampton again."