By Benito Vila
Nothing’s perfect but Pierson boys’ varsity basketball is doing its best to stay that way. The team is now 2-0 in League VIII play after last night’s 36-20 win over Shelter Island at home, keeping the Whalers atop the standings along with Stony Brook and pre-season favorite Greenport.
The scoring started slowly, Pierson putting points up first after three minutes plus had gone by, team captain Joe Dowling banking a shot in off the glass under the basket. Nearly another two minutes went by before the Indians tied the game at two.
The decidedly Pierson crowd called out a football-like “DEE-FENSE” just under three minutes left in the second quarter, picking up on what had become the mainstay of the game, Shelter Island up at that point 5-3.
Both coaches struggled to jumpstart their offenses, substituting in freely to find a group that could connect from the floor. The Whalers went ahead 6-5 with 1:45 left in the half on a baseline drive by Casey Crowley that gave them the lead for good.
The Bright Side
The Pierson boys managed to keep up their pressure and pull away on the scoreboard somewhat, a steal and lay-up by Nick DePetris with 5:18 left in the fourth pushing the lead to 27-14. A Luke Kirrane lay-up with 1:09 left prompted the “start the ferry” call from the bleacher creatures, the score 32-16.
Kirrane scored all eight of his points in the last period to give the Whalers what they needed to win. Crowley led the team with 10 and Dowling finished with nine.
Whaler varsity coach Fred Marienfeld said afterwards, “It wasn’t pretty, but I gotta look at the bright side: I’d rather have an ugly win than an ugly loss. Our defense was the bright spot; we didn’t give up any double-digit quarters. On offense, we have work to do; they made us work in the half court and that’s a tough way to go.”
Last weekend’s snow curtailed the boys’ trip to a tournament in Rochester and left the team home to practice. Coach Marienfeld has rescheduled that trip next weekend, just after New Year’s. Looking ahead to what’s in store after the holidays, Coach Marienfeld said, “We need the practice; we need to do a lot to keep getting better. And we also need to play games; getting everyone away and doing something as a team will be good for us.”
The Whalers will be back in the gym later this week and early next getting ready for the games upstate and a January 6 match-up at Mercy. The team is home again Thursday, January 8, hosting Ross at 5:45 p.m.