By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller
Ultimately, the Stony Brook boys basketball team had too much of everything for the Whalers to contend. Too much size. Too much speed. Too much depth. Too much talent.
As a result, the Bears cruised to the Suffolk County Class C Championship at Longwood High School on Saturday afternoon with a convincing 63-36 win over Pierson.
The Bears will advance in both the Section XI tournament and the New York State Class C bracket, where they will play for a Long Island title on March 4, most likely against Friends Academy. Pierson’s season came to an end with a 13-6 overall record.
Saturday’s game was never close as Stony Brook’s supremely talented starting five outmatched Pierson from the opening tip, turning a 15-4 first-quarter lead into an insurmountable 36-12 advantage at halftime.
Pierson head coach Dan White could not mask his disappointment during the moments following the game.
“It’s getting old,” White said after the loss, which was essentially a repeat from a season ago. “They’re better than us and we don’t have the luxury of a bad quarter.”
The Whalers played admirably in the second half, but the result was never in doubt. Senior point guard Ian Barrett, who finished with a team-high 19 points, led Pierson during the third quarter, where the Whalers outscored Stony Brook, 16-13.
Forrest Loesch, Pierson’s senior leader who was a scoring machine this season, closed out his Whalers career with just six points, well below his season average. Robbie Evjen, with eight points, and Cooper Marienfeld, with three, were the only other Whalers to score against the stingy Stony Brook defense.
Bears coach Mike Hickey said afterwards that his strategy was to disrupt the Pierson offense early and often.
“They have great shooters and they run things well, so defensively it was switching and being aggressive,” Hickey said. “Typically the most aggressive team wins.”
And the Bears on Saturday were too aggressive for Pierson, or perhaps any other Class C team in the state this year, to contend.