By Benito Vila
The Pierson and Ross basketball programs matched-up for four games Friday, the Whalers winning all four: varsity girls, JV girls, JV boys and varsity boys.
The varsity boys’ game was the closest of them all, the outcome in doubt until late in the fourth quarter when Pierson’s Skyler Loesch hit a pair of free throws with 1:26 left to put his team up, 54-45.
That nine-point lead could have disappeared on the Whalers had the Ravens seen their three-pointers fall, but only one dropped through. Another pair of Loesch free throws with 49 second remaining all but finished the affair, leaving the Ravens down eight, at 57-49.
The 61-50 final pushed Pierson’s league mark to 2-8 and provided a bit of redemption to a team that may forever be known as the first Whaler basketball team ever to lose to the Ross. The Ravens, meanwhile, see their mark fall to 4-6, a 3-0 start now a bit like a dream.
Despite the schools’ records and their somewhat one-sided history, the game Friday was a good one to watch. The teams were nearly even at the half, the advantage there going to Pierson, 26-25.
With a minute left in the third, the Whaler lead was still one, 40-39, but then Pierson went on a 10-2 run to take control of the contest. There was an up-tempo, back-and-forth pace to the game until that decisive and uneven five-minute stretch, fans on both sides happily cheering the constant action until then.
Loesch came off the court leading all scorers with 23 points. Luke Kirrane and Seamus Doyle each added 11 for Pierson. Tyler Gilbride tossed in nine and Sam Miller seven.
Ross’ Liam Chaskey sunk in 17 to top the Ravens. Brendan Pettaway and Lorcan Jowers each scored ten; Hayden Aldredge added eight and Fuhito Yoshida five.
Lady Whalers Lock Up Playoffs
As action-packed as the boys’ varsity game proved to be, the girls’ varsity game had somewhat more significance, the Lady Whalers’ 53-21 win putting Pierson into the county post-season tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
The girls’ scoring was not quite as even as the boys’, the Lady Whalers jumping out to a 16-6 first quarter lead and going into the fourth up 41-16. The final buzzer set off a subdued Pierson celebration, a 53-21 final up on the scoreboard.
Leading the Lady Whalers in scoring was Sarah Barrett with 17 points. Sam James tallied 14, Emily Hinz eight, Amanda Busiello and Sam Kamper four each and Kaci Koehne and Bridget Canavan two apiece.
The Lady Whalers (6-3 in League VIII) host Mercy on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and travel to Stony Brook on Thursday. The Pierson girls close their season at home against Port Jefferson Wednesday, February 10.
The Lady Ravens are at Stony Brook Tuesday and come home to host Port Jefferson next Thursday at 6:15 p.m. The Ross season has two games the final week, the team heading to Southold February 8, and meeting Mercy at home February 10.
Look Out For the Killer Bees
On Tuesday, the Whalers travel to Greenport while the Ravens host 7-3 Stony Brook at 6:15 p.m. On Friday, the Whalers host Stony Brook at 6:15 p.m. and the Ravens go to “The Hive” to play Bridgehampton at 5 p.m.
The Killer Bees used their cozy home court to their advantage Friday, flying out to an early 22-7 lead over Smithtown Christian and going back to the locker room at the half up 42-13. The Bridgehampton boys sweetened their lead to 45 points at the end of the third, a 26-10 run making the score 68-23.
The Crusaders took the fourth period, 25-10, but that was barely enough to cut the final margin to 30, the Killer Bees evening up their league mark at 5-5 with the 78-48 final.
Tossing in 31 points to lead Bridgehampton was Canaan Campbell, who threw down five three-pointers, the long shots ringing up nearly half his total. Cesar Banados dropped in three three-pointers in scoring 13. Ainsley Wyche also added 13, while Jamal Hires and Jason Hopson had six each.
Next up for the Killer Bees are Shelter Island away Tuesday and Ross at home Friday. Wins in those two games will clinch a playoff spot for Bridgehampton. A loss in either one puts more pressure on the team to win away against Stony Brook February 8 or at home against Pierson February 10.
Young Whalers Pull Away
Both the Pierson girls’ and boys’ junior varsity came off the court having had everyone on the team play, the margins allowing the coaches to give the reserves some game day experience. The Whalers took their game by 30 and the Lady Whalers took theirs by 19.
Katherine Matthers led the girls’ JV with 13 points. Kasey Gilbride dropped in six while Maricarmen Chavez and Sol Varela lifted in four apiece.