By Benito Vila
Sometimes games go the other way and coaches are left with very little to say. So it was after Pierson’s 56-28 loss to Mercy on Tuesday, Whaler varsity coach Fred Marienfeld making no excuses for a poor performance, disappointed in having to admit, “We had more turnovers than a bakery.”
Coach Marienfeld calculated that by making 26 turnovers and recovering only seven offensive, his team gave Mercy all the extra chances they needed to put the game away. “With the advantage they had on turnovers and rebounds alone, they had the ball 23 more times than us. We can’t give it to the other team like that and expect to win.”
The score was close at the half Tuesday, Mercy up 23-16 after Pierson battled back from being down 20-11 to make it 20-16. A breakaway bucket and foul shot shut down the Whaler run and allowed the Monarchs to regain momentum. That emotion carried into the second half, Mercy outscoring Pierson 33-12 to close out the game.
The Whalers have had trouble getting the ball in the basket of late, scoring just 37 points in the pre-holiday win over Shelter Island at home and 28 Tuesday. “That’s simply not going to get it done,” said Coach Marienfeld Tuesday night. “We have Ross coming in Thursday and then we have Greenport and Stony Brook. They’re all good teams that can score and we’re putting ourselves under a lot of pressure with our shot selection and ball-handling.”
Describing his team, Coach Marienfeld feels he has a good group that can potentially make the county’s Class C play-offs, although noting that “we’re fairly even talent-wise and we’re going to have to work for whatever we get. I know we’re young and expectations weren’t high, but we’re more capable than this. We have three tough games this week and this is a chance for these guys to prove themselves. While we’re struggling with the ball, to be good rebounders and defensive players we just have to put our minds to it. If we can control the ball there, we’ll get more chances on the other end.”
Coach Marienfeld did manage to play the entire roster Tuesday, glad to see “everybody get minutes” and made more substitutions than he has with any of his previous four varsity squads. “Again, there’s not a huge disparity in talent, so I can do that. I’d like to see some of the younger guys step up and earn more time. That’s going to help us now and later on.”
Juniors Joe Dowling and Luke Kirrane and senior Casey Crowley led what little scoring there was for the Whalers Tuesday, each coming away with six points. Sophomore Jake Weingartner recorded four points and classmate Seamus Doyle two. Senior Nick DePetris scored three from the line and sophomore Skyler Loesch had one.
Â What’s Ahead
The Whalers, even at 2-1 in League VIII, are at a defining point in the season. Their next three games are against teams that have started strong and sport a collective 6-1 mark in league play; 8-5 overall in competing against much larger schools.
Coach Marienfeld expects Ross to come into Pierson this afternoon “amped up and looking to get themselves to 3-1. After our game, somebody is going to get out 3-1 and in a good spot [for the playoffs]. The Pierson boys travel to league-leading Greenport Monday, matching up with all-Long Island scoring sensation Ryan Creighton and an offense that has scored 100 points twice and is averaging over 83 a game. The Whalers are home again next Wednesday hosting second-place Stony Brook at 6:15 p.m.
Â Local League VIII highlights
Â Bridgehampton’s Ainsley Wyche scored 22 in the Killer Bees’ loss to Greenport on Tuesday. That was not enough to offset the 23 points registered by both Ryan Creighton and Wally Sorenson or the 55 tossed on by the rest of the Porters.
With Shelter Island visiting Tuesday, Ross freshman Liam Chaskey hit three three-pointers to finish with 15 points in the Ravens 64-41 win. Ross senior Jasper Creegan also knocked down 15, with Brendan Pettaway posting 11 and Taylor Wilson adding 10. Mike Mundy led the Indian attack with 13 points.
A 15-7 run in the third quarter allowed Ross to build on a 27-20 halftime lead and take control of the game.