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Mar 13, 2015 9:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Killer Bees Headed Back To States After Win Over Livingston Manor

Mar 18, 2015 10:33 AM

They’re back.After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the Bridgehampton boys basketball team—owner of eight state championship banners—will be boarding a bus for Glens Falls again to compete in the New York State Class D Final Four, thanks to a 60-39 romp over Livingston Manor in the Southeast Regional Final at Suffolk County Community College in Selden on Friday night.

The Killer Bees got off to a bit of a slow start against the Wildcats, but it was short-lived—down 7-6 with three minutes left in the first quarter, Bridgehampton went on a 9-0 run and then never looked back, up 37-17 at halftime en route to the win.

The Killer Bees last made an appearance at states in 1998, when they won their third straight Class D crown, the sixth in the program’s history. Now, a team with two players whose fathers were on that 1998 team, as well as the uncle of another, will try to make it nine state crowns for the proud program.

Friday night’s win represented the fulfillment of a goal that was a long time coming for a team that has carried the hopes and expectations of its basketball-obsessed community—and family members—for years. That fact was no more evident than on the face of junior point guard Tylik Furman, who was overcome with emotion as he and the rest of the Bridgehampton starters watched from the bench as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Towel over his head, he wiped away tears of joy as he shared hugs with his teammates and was swarmed by the rest of the fans and Bridgehampton cheerleaders once the game was over.

Furman—whose father, Charles Furman, played for longtime head coach Carl Johnson on the “three-peat” teams of the 1990s—has been the starting point guard for four years, and in that time has fallen short in the Southeast Regional twice, including against Livingston Manor as an eighth-grader. The Bees were knocked out in the same game in Furman’s freshman year as well, on a buzzer-beating shot, and watched nearby rival Shelter Island win the Suffolk ‘D’ crown last season.

“The last two times I’ve been here, I’ve lost, so it’s very emotional,” Furman said after the game. He spoke about the past championship teams as well, and the great expectations that come with being a Killer Bee.

“It’s a lot on our plate because we have to go hard in every game and every practice, because we want to achieve that goal that they achieved,” he said.

Like Furman, junior forward Josh Lamison has also been on the team since he was in eighth grade and is also entrenched in the history of the program; his uncles, J.P. and Marcos Harding, played on the state championship teams of the 1990s as well. Additionally, Bridgehampton sophomore Elijah Jackson’s brother, Fred Welch, also played on the 1996 and 1997 state championship teams.

“It feels incredible,” he said after the game.

While Furman and Lamison are the veterans, junior forward Charles Manning Jr. turned out to have been the missing piece before he transferred to Bridgehampton this year, moving in with his father, Maurice 
Manning, the most well-known player in Killer Bees history, 
who was the star of the title-winning teams in the 1990s. While Manning Jr. did not experience the sting of past defeats that Furman and Lamison did, he is just as familiar with the pressure to succeed. He could barely contain his joy after the game, holding the winning plaque, staring at it repeatedly as though in disbelief, his smile growing wider and wider.

“I don’t even know what to say right now,” he said. “To be able to go upstate and try to do something my dad did, and follow in his footsteps; it’s very overwhelming right now.”

Manning Jr. and Lamison led Bridgehampton on Friday night, Lamison with 22 points and 16 rebounds, Manning Jr. with 21 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals. The Wildcats simply had no answer for Manning Jr., who dunked three times in the game, including one on an offensive putback. Furman scored seven points and ran the offense with his usual proficiency.

Throughout all the success the Killer Bees have had over the decades, Johnson has been the constant. He played for the program’s first championship teams, coached the other three, and is now two wins away from his seventh. He spoke about the 
full-circle feeling of it all after the game.

“It’s great, and it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I never thought I’d be coaching any former players’ kids, so to have two of their fathers and an uncle play for me is pretty special.

“I’m happy for all the guys, because they’ve heard so much about going upstate, and now they get to taste it,” he continued. “Now they don’t have to listen to their fathers and uncles and cousins; they can experience it themselves.”

That experience will begin on Friday, March 20, at 11:45 a.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center in the New York State Class D semifinals.

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By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Mar 15, 15 5:48 PM