EAST HAMPTON – The host Bellringers of East Hampton used a furious start to help hold off the Thunderbirds of North Branford in the championship game of the Thomas J. McCabe Holiday Tournament, winning by a final score of 54-48.
East Hampton was led by senior guards Tom Close and Nic DiStefano, who finished with 21 points and 15, respectively.
The Bellringers jumped out to a 21-2 lead after the first quarter thanks to a blitzing defense that saw the hosts jump out to a 12-0 lead before the T-Birds got on the board.
North Branford was able to chip away at the East Hampton lead in the second, outscoring the Bellringers 18-7 behind timely shooting from Brett LeQuire and Jake Haeckel, to make it a 28-20 game at the break.
The Thunderbirds were able to trim the Bellringers’ lead down to three on two separate occasions, making it 46-43 halfway through the fourth. East Hampton, though, was too strong from the free throw line to put the game away late.
LeQuire scored 19 points for the T-Birds, while Haeckel finished with 18.
The result of the game mirrors last year’s McCabe championship outcome, when East Hampton beat North Branford in the title bout, 63-56.