HAMPTON BAYS COACHES VS. CANCER TOURNAMENT | FIRST SETTLERS 54, MUSTANGS 50
People who know Liam Walker rave about him as a person and as a basketball player. As a person, he is known for his good character, being unfailingly polite and humble. As a player, well, he is exceptional.
Walker is a tremendous talent who looks like he has college basketball in his future. His ability to finish and put up points is a big boost for the Southold High School boys basketball team.
One day after registering 32 points despite being double- and even triple-teamed at times, Walker showcased his defensive skills as Southold overtook Mount Sinai, 54-50, in the Hampton Bays Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament consolation game on Saturday.
After trailing for most of the first half, Southold (4-3) turned to a man-to-man defense in the third quarter, when it outscored Mount Sinai (0-7) by 10-2 and never looked back. Walker netted 7 of those points, rising to the occasion when his team needed him most.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Southold coach Phil Reed said. “He’s probably the best player I ever coached.”
Limited to only one field goal in the first half, Walker scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the second half. He shot 5 of 16 from the field.
But perhaps Walker’s most valuable service to the First Settlers came on the defensive end. The junior guard defended Mount Sinai’s big shooter, Coles Williams. Williams, a senior guard, was held to 2 second-half points after scoring 13 in the first half. For the game, Williams shot 4 for 13 from the field.
Both players were named to the all-tournament team.
Walker had turned in a superb offensive effort on Friday, striking for 32 points (5 shy of his career-high) against host Hampton Bays. The Baymen won that game, 63-53. But Walker’s play made an impression on Hampton Bays’ veteran coach, Pete Meehan, who later expressed his admiration for Walker.
Walker indicated that he valued team wins more than individual accomplishments, so he may have found Saturday’s game more to his liking.
Only four players scored for Southold, yet all of them reached double figures. Among them were Shayne Johnson (14 points), Alex Poliwoda (13) and Kenji Fujita (11). The active Fujita also had 13 assists, 8 rebounds and 5 steals.
Mount Sinai, aided by Williams, Christian Dular (13 points, 5 assists) and Nolan Kelly (8 points, 14 rebounds), led by as many as 7 points in the first half when it held a 21-11 rebounding advantage. The game turned in the third quarter, though, as Southold tightened its defense and did a better job of running its offense, said Reed.
With Southold down by 31-29, Walker scored the first three baskets of the third quarter — a layup, a 3-pointer from the corner, and another layup. Something clicked, and the First Settlers were off and running.