By Marc Silvestrini
Pictured: Ted Zhao gets ready to set up East Hampton’s offense as teammate Stephen Brady (21) and Old Saybrook’s Davis Brown (11) look on.
OLD SAYBROOK — East Hampton outscored Old Saybrook 50-25 over the final 14 minutes of play to turn what had been a nine-point lead early in the third quarter into an 82-49 Shoreline Conference boys basketball win Friday.
The game was the Shoreline opener for the Bellringers, who improved to 3-0 overall. Old Saybrook is now 0-3 both on the year and in the conference.
Returning all-conference guard Stephen Brady, Grant Arcidiacono and Jye Lynch led the second-half East Hampton surge with 16, 8 and 6 points, respectively. Brady finished with a game-high 27, while Arcidiacono and Lynch turned in 15 points apiece.
Bellringers coach Parker Strong said his team managed to widen its advantage over the Rams in the second half not so much by changing its defensive approach, but by playing the same basic defense with better focus and energy.
“Our defensive focus wasn’t great in the first half, but in the second half we did a much better job of communicating with each other,” Strong said. “In the first half, we weren’t very sharp in our trapping, we didn’t rotate very well and it seemed like we didn’t quite understand where it was we were supposed to be. But in the second half we seemed to concentrate better. We picked up a little more energy and intensity.”
Much of that defensive focus was in trying to slow down Old Saybrook’s Davis Brown, who had scored 32 and 21 points in the Rams’ first two games. The effort worked to a degree as Brown, an adept slasher and penetrator, found it difficult to convert his acrobatic drives to the hoop into easy layups.
Brown was held to 12 points.
“They played us real tough and their defense did a nice job of putting a lot of pressure on Davis and not letting him take the shots he wanted to take,” Rams coach Patrick Quinn said.
“I think they also wore us down a little in the second half,” Quinn added. “They were pushing the ball up the floor and running right by us later in the game.”
A jumper by Arcidiacono, a free throw by Ted Zhao and a 3-point bomb by Brady enabled the Bellringers to score seven of the game’s first nine points and race off to a 7-2 lead over the first half of the first quarter.
But, six points by Brown – including a 40-foot buzzer beater for three points – and a bucket by Mike Almada enabled the Rams to outscore the visitors 8-6 over the final four minutes of the quarter to close to within three, at 13-10, after the first eight minutes.
East Hampton stretched its lead to five, at 20-15, over the first three minutes of the second quarter before Brady, with four points, and Lynch, with three, triggered a 9-5 spurt over the final minutes of the quarter to stake the Bellringers to a 29-20 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, a layup by Riley Lawson and a drive down the lane by Brown offset a Brady 3-pointer to pull the Rams to within eight, at 32-24, over the first minute and a half. A nine-point burst by Brady fueled a 17-2 East Hampton run that ballooned the Bellringers’ lead to 23, at 49-26, with 2:11 to play in the quarter.
A layup by Lawson, a 3-pointer by Aaron Tolve and a layup by Brown helped the Rams close the quarter with a 7-3 spurt that brought them to within 19, at 52-33, after three quarters of play.
East Hampton then broke the game wide open with a 20-7 run at the start of the fourth quarter, giving it a 72-40 lead with three minutes left in the game.
Asked if he saw anything positive with the way his team played, Quinn did not hesitate.
“I liked the way our bench guys came out, ready to play,” he said. “They came in and had to take on roles they weren’t familiar with and still did a real nice job.”
Lawson matched Brown’s 12-point effort for the Rams while Almada and Tolve scored 6 apiece.
East Hampton will host Morgan on Monday in a noon start, while Old Saybrook hosts Hale-Ray on Thursday at 7 p.m.
EAST HAMPTON (82)
Jye Lynch 7 0 15, Max Karrenberg 2 0 5, Drew DiStefano 2 0 4, Stephen Brady 9 6 27, Grant Arcidiacono 4 5 15, Chris Weyrauch 0 2 2, Nathan Doherty 0 0 0, Ted Zhao 2 1 5, Chris Progano 2 0 4, Ethan Palma 1 3 5. Totals: 29 17 82.
OLD SAYBROOK (49)
Mike Almada 3 0 6, Riley Lawson 4 3 12, Davis Brown 4 3 12, Ryan Stratton 0 0 0, Tucker Gometz 0 0 0, Gino Gallitto 2 0 4, William Bergeron 0 0 0, Toby Marineau 2 0 5, Aaron Tolve 1 3 6, Owen Tolve 0 2 2, Kyle Colella 0 2 2, Jake Linder 0 0 0. Totals: 16 13 49.
Score by Quarters
3-Pointers: EH—Brady 3, Arcidiacono 2, Lynch 1, Karrenberg 1; OS—Lawson 1, Brown 1, A.Tolve 1, Marineau 1.
Records: East Hampton 3-0, 1-0; Old Saybrook 0-3, 0-3.