Tag Archive | "basketball"

Wild Week Off the Court Capped by Two Wins

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By Benito Vila

There may be some that would prefer whatever happens at Pierson stays at Pierson, but that’s not the way the world works. Amid all the press coverage and online opining, the Whaler varsity is still playing, still short of a berth in the county Class C tournament.

A 49-46 win over Ross yesterday put Pierson closer to that goal, two clutch Casey Crowley free throws with 3.8 seconds left providing the final margin and earning interim Whaler varsity coach Christian Johns his first league victory. A pair of put-back baskets by Jake Weingartner in the closing minutes allowed the Whalers to hold off a Ravens run led by Brandon Pettaway, Jasper Creegan and Liam Chaskey.

In describing the difference in the game, Coach Johns said, “It was all team. We kept constant pressure on them, made them work, and even though we were a bit sloppy on offense, we kept our cool at the end.” Crowley led all scorers with 21 points while Whaler captain Joe Dowling pulled down 18 rebounds and put in 13 points.

The win gets Pierson to 6-5 in league play with three games left to go. A tournament seeding requires a .500 record and that will not come easy with games against Greenport, Stony Brook and Smithtown Christian coming this week.

The Whalers host the undefeated Porters here tomorrow at 6:15 p.m. and travel to the second-place Bears Monday at 4:30 p.m. If those games go the other way, the pressure will be on against the Crusaders in the season-finale next Wednesday at Pierson at 6:15 p.m.

 

Like Nothing Ever Happened

Led by JV coach Kevin Barron, the team took the floor at home Friday and worked their way to a 26-21 halftime lead over Class C rival Mercy. The Monarchs’ defensive press kept the Whaler attack from re-establishing its rhythm in the second half, allowing the visitors to make off with a 59-43 win.

Coach Barron said afterwards, “I asked the guys to play their hearts out and they did; they came out like nothing ever happened. When Mercy came at us with a press in the second half, we didn’t make the type of passes we needed to get through it. That and Mercy’s foul shooting [16 of 19] in the fourth were the difference.”

Tyler Gilbride led the Whalers Friday with 13 points. Crowley had 12, Dowling 10, Ryan Miller four and Skyler Loesch and Dylan Hmielnski two each.

Knowing that Mercy broke the game open with 11 points in the last two minutes, and the new intensity of Coach Johns, inspired a strong defensive effort on Saturday on Shelter Island. The Whalers led 15-2 after the first quarter, 29-9 at the half, and stayed ahead the rest of the way to post a 60-34 non-league win.

Coach Johns said, “Our defense helped us establish a solid start. We were aggressive on the ball and that translated into an early lead. We did a decent job of getting out in transition and later on we were able to manage the game with longer possessions.”

Crowley led the scoring with 19. Dowling again added 10 while Miller and Seamus Doyle each netted nine.

 

Pierson Hoopsters Comment on a Time That’ll be Hard to Forget

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By Benito Vila

It’s hard for kids to know what to believe sometimes, especially when dealing with adults. Learning Coach Marienfeld had been fired last Thursday left more than a few Pierson varsity basketball players wondering what could possibly come next.

The team had come through a two-week stretch where the coach’s language in a loss led to his suspension, two players quit, a one-sided loss was followed by a close win, and an overtime loss at home preceded another nerve-wracking win. Still, to most, all seemed just as it should be, with the Whalers two wins away from a playoff berth, with five games left to go.

But then the news came Thursday afternoon of Coach Marienfeld speaking his mind in the press about allegations made of his treatment of players, and the school administration’s decision to dismiss him immediately, citing “misconduct.”

 “It just seemed surreal”, said team captain Joe Dowling. “If they [that hollow un-understandable ‘they’ that makes decisions far from where kids are] were going to do anything, they should have waited,” suggested sophomore Tyler Gilbride.

Gilbride’s classmate Skyler Loesch was more philosophical in saying he was “hoping for the best” and acknowledging, “It is what it is. You can’t do anything about it now.”

 

Emotions Run On

Coach Marienfeld had led the Whaler boys’ basketball program since 2005, his teams reaching the playoffs each year. “I’m going to miss him,” said Dowling, a sentiment shared by Loesch and Gilbride, the captain explaining, “He helped me out so much with summer league, talking to me and teaching me what I needed to do.”

All three are accepting and welcoming of interim coach Christian Johns, who worked with Loesch and Gilbride when they were in eighth grade. “I love his intensity for the game,” said Gilbride, “and how teams work for him.” Dowling describes Coach Johns as bringing “a whole new perspective on doing everything as a team,” noting, “He’s hard and he wants to win.”

The news of Marienfeld’s dismissal after all the local papers had published their weekly editions set off a slew of online reports and reader commentary. Some of those commentaries attacked the players who left the team, some their parents; many spoke well of Coach Marienfeld, while others felt he got what he deserved. Still others were critical of the Pierson administration with nearly all approaching their entries with a sense of disbelief.

In all this “posting” and “blogging,” the focus has moved away from the game on the court and the kids out there hustling; in fact, it’s moved away from Coach Marienfeld to commentaries on society, anger, and the roles and rights of parents, coaches and players.

 

Strains and Pains

What remains though are strained friendships, hurt feelings and an inordinate amount of despair and angst being felt by more than a few households. And the two students that chose to step away from playing are feeling it, perhaps more than most, Nick DePetris saying, “Nobody wanted this. I wasn’t out to take his job. I just wanted to have a good senior season. It’s been humiliating.”

Jake Federico spoke sadly of not knowing how to approach a person he’s known and had regard for his whole life. “It’s hard not to be able to acknowledge Fred in the hallway [at school] because I still like him as a person and love his family.”

Both players described the root of their conflict with the coach coming from his insistence they participate in summer league play, work and other sports commitments keeping them away. And both cited instances of feeling treated unfairly despite their best efforts.

The other comments made by DePetris and Federico indicate they have quickly gained a perspective on what happened between they and their coach, saying, “No one understands he can be a different man on the court”; “He made it hard on himself by lashing out”; “It’s like he wanted to make a point that if you don’t commit completely you wouldn’t play”; and “I’m just fine with it; I hope they finish up strong.”

They were also consistent in expressing surprise at the emotion and involvement of so many adults. Federico concluded, “They’re taking this far too seriously. They’re not the kids that worked and gave it their all. And they have their own ideas about what went on. I’ve never quit anything. I called everyone together during practice and said I couldn’t do this anymore. I didn’t just walk out. There was some [back and forth with Coach Marienfeld], but it wasn’t what people make it out to be.”

Plainly, in stating, “What he did was wrong” and “He was talking down on us and harping on weaknesses” both still feel hurt at being singled out and being described the way they were. But both see life going on for them at school, with talk of baseball, soccer, football and college quickly moving conversation away from a time that’s been hard for everyone.

 

 

Change at the Helm: Marienfeld Out, Johns In

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By Benito Vila 

In a not-to-be-believed week of snowballing events, Fred Marienfeld, Pierson High School’s varsity basketball coach since 2005, was relieved of his coaching duties last Thursday afternoon by the school administration. The action was taken following the publication of an interview in the East Hampton Star in which Coach Marienfeld described conflicts he had with two players and their parents. 

In giving his perspective on the events in question, Coach Marienfeld publicly pointed out the shortcomings of those players, in their preparation and emotional make-up. Explaining the firing Friday morning, Pierson athletic director Bill Madsen said, “Our expectation is that our coaches will treat our student athletes with dignity and respect and Coach didn’t meet that expectation.”

Dissatisfaction between the parents, players and coach started early in the season, when one player was cut and the other quit when he was not named captain. The administration instructed the coach to take both players back after much discussion and debate.

Coach Marienfeld’s suspension for cursing in a halftime team meeting during a loss to Mercy, January 6, followed immediately by the two players quitting the team after a grueling practice the next day, added to the hostilities, leading Star reporter Jack Graves to delve into the conflict.

 

Meet the New Coach

The Whalers were led by JV coach Kevin Barron in their Friday night home game against Mercy, building a 26-21 halftime lead before falling 59-43. After that game, Madsen announced the appointment of Christian Johns to serve as interim head coach for the balance of the season.

Coach Johns is a special education instructor in the Pierson Middle School and has previously coached boys’ middle school basketball and girls’ varsity basketball at Pierson and boys’ lacrosse at East Hampton. A graduate of Lakeland High School (Yorktown Heights, NY), he played lacrosse for Division I Loyola College (Md.) before graduating in 1995.

Coach Johns has had a role in the special education department at Pierson since 1999 and has been a full-time teacher there since 2004. He was courtside for the first time Saturday, the Whalers traveling to Shelter Island for a non-league game and coming home with a convincing 60-34 win.

 

Above, Coach Fred Marienfeld (right) at a Whaler team practice in 2007

 

Ladies Lock a Playoff Spot

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The Pierson/Bridgehampton Varsity Girls Basketball team won on Friday against the Shelter Island Lady Indians 61-48 — putting the Lady Whalers into the playoffs.

It was a slow start for Pierson that night, with the girl’s trailing Shelter Island 12-16 by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter proved to be more rewarding for the Whalers, finishing one point behind at the half, 32-33.

During the third quarter, Pierson earned 15 to Shelter Island’s six points and were able to hold the Lady Indians back 39-47.

In the fourth quarter Pierson/Bridgehampton bested Shelter Island, 14-9.

Senior Katie Osiecki had 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead Pierson to a 4-1 record in their League VIII games. Sophomore Samantha James, gained 16 points that game and Bridgehampton’s Ala Pinckney had 10 points with six of hers from three-pointers. Sarah Barrett also had a three-pointer on Friday.

This week, the Lady Whalers will play Mercy on Friday at 7 p.m. on the Monarchs’ home court. 

 

Going Gets Tough for Whalers

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By Benito Vila

 

It was Hunter S. Thompson who said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”  The going was very weird for the Pierson basketball program last week, an overtime loss to Bridgehampton at home was followed by a slew of newspaper reports and online commentary concerning the disciplinary suspension of varsity coach Fred Marienfeld earlier this month.

Lost in all the commotion was a last-minute come-from-behind 51-48 win over Shelter on Friday, that improved the Whalers’ league mark to 5-4 and set up a showdown with Mercy (also 5-4) at Pierson tomorrow; tip-off is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., following the JV match-up due to start at 4:30 p.m.

It was the away match-up with the Monarchs January 6 that sent many of the Whaler faithful flying off into clouds of confusion and misinformation this week. In that game, Pierson played poorly in the first half and trailed 23-16 at the break.

Coach Marienfeld, who has led the Whalers to three consecutive playoff berths and who was awarded the League VIII coach-of-the-year in 2006, spoke harshly to his team and let loose language unfit even for the confines of a locker room. That speech did little to improve Pierson’s play as the boys were outscored 33-12 the rest of the way, the final buzzer bringing a 56-28 Mercy rout to a close.

 

What Happened

Phone calls followed from parents to Pierson Athletic Director Bill Madsen the day after, and a practice saw two players quit. Coach Marienfeld owned up to his lapse of discretion, and was suspended from his coaching duties by the administration for four days, covering two practices and the January 12 game against Greenport.

In an interview given immediately after the suspension, Madsen said, Coach Marienfeld had been censured “for conduct detrimental to the program. He used language that was inappropriate and Coach Marienfeld recognized it and apologized to me and to the team.”

It was only last Thursday that news of the suspension reached hysterical proportions, one publication reporting Coach Marienfeld had also been suspended from his teaching duties and others calling Madsen to check on outlandish allegations. Meanwhile, a flurry of online postings and frenetic phone calls to local reporters made it increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction.

 

What’s the Latest

All the animosity and second-guessing aside, the Whalers are two games out of the playoffs after last Friday’s win. Like the rest of the week, much of the game against the Indians wasn’t pretty, Pierson down 11-8 after the first and 24-20 at the half.

Tenacious defense held the Indians to eight points in the third quarter, the Whalers cutting the deficit to two when Joey Dowling, Skyler Loesch and Brook Harnett scored from the floor and Tyler Gilbride, Casey Crowley and Luke Kirrane connected from the line.

Ryan Miller sparked an offensive surge for Pierson in the fourth, his defense earning the team extra possessions and his ability to finish at the basket netting a crucial eight points. In the lane, Loesch also made the most of his opportunities, putting in three baskets as the clock wound down.

A Miller rebound and put back just inside a minute put Pierson up for good at 50-48 and his interception of a long football-like pass in the waning seconds ended the last Indian threat. While Miller posted 12 points in all, a personal high, Crowley’s free-throw shooting helped him total 15 to lead the team.

Sophomore Jake Weingartner added nine, and his classmate Loesch eight. Eight of the nine Pierson players scored, a development that pleased Coach Marienfeld, who said, “You gotta like that, getting everyone to contribute. We need it to win. It’s working on defense; we’re giving a good effort there, scrambling and getting after the ball. That’s giving us more chances on offense and now we’re starting to finish those.”

 

What’s Ahead

Mercy comes into Pierson after having avenged an early-season loss at Bridgehampton, by getting past the Bees 76-51 at home last Friday. That contest was even until the Monarchs pulled away with a 24-9 run in the third.

The loss leaves the Bees 5-4 in league play, also needing two wins to qualify for the playoffs. Although a game tomorrow at Greenport may even their mark, coming out ahead at winless Smithtown Christian Tuesday and at home against 2-7 Shelter Island next Thursday could return the Bees to the post-season.

Pierson meanwhile has a more difficult road ahead, traveling to rejuvenated Ross Tuesday for a 6:15 p.m. start, hosting undefeated Greenport next Thursday at 6:15 p.m. and meeting 7-1 Stony Brook away February 9. That schedule makes tomorrow’s match-up with Mercy even more critical, little margin left for losses.

 

What’s It All Mean

With no returning starters on the team and often having an all-sophomore line-up on the court, it is hard not to consider the ups and downs of this season to be part of the learning curve of a young Whaler squad. Certainly, the personality conflicts and off-court distractions have added to the growing pains, but the maturation and confidence shown by senior guard Miller and sophomores Weingartner, Loesch, and Gilbride have given the team a spark it lacked early in the season.

More reliable play at the point from Crowley and Dylan Hmielenski has been helping the offense, which still lacks the type of reliable outside shooter Pierson has had on the recent Keith Robinson and Dave Locascio-led squads. The ankle injury to Dowling, a junior, has kept the team’s most experienced big man and deft inside scorer from becoming more of a force. Kirrane, an able shooter and rebounder, has begun to assert himself more of late, taking up a leadership role that he will have to return to next season.

In short, it has not been “all bad”, but the schedule ahead is tough, tougher perhaps than what these Whalers have been through already; and that is a lot to say the least.

Home Not Sweet for Whalers

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By Benito Vila

Roller coasters are an easier ride than Bridgehampton–Pierson basketball games. The schools only face off twice each year and only in boys’ basketball; then it’s friend against friend on the floor and neighbor on neighbor in the stands.

Always, amidst all the cheering, jawing and ribbing, the outcome of the games seem to mean so much. And so it has been this season, both squads relying on underclassmen to play key roles and both struggling against more seasoned teams elsewhere in the league.

Pierson took the first meeting 62-59 in overtime in Bridgehampton on December 16; a game the Bees believed they let get away, even though the Whalers went up eight early on. Tuesday’s rematch at Pierson found both schools seven games into their 14-game seasons, both at 4-3, acutely aware 7-7 marks or better are required for post-season play.

 

A Thrill Ride

The action on the court didn’t disappoint on Tuesday, the scoring coming in short runs, back and forth, each team keeping the other close. In the end, the Whalers were up 48-43 with 1:25 left in the fourth, before the Bees battled back, making the most of a technical foul and an extra possession to close the gap.

A banked shot by the Bees’ Cesar Banados tied the score at 49 with 5.3 seconds left in regulation. Time running out, the Whalers were unable to get a clean shot before the buzzer, forcing overtime.

And overtime saw Bridgehampton break out with a quick 5-0 run, Ainsley Wyche taking a stolen pass to outside the arc and knocking down a three-pointer and Jamal Hires finding himself free underneath the basket for a lay-up following a long rebound off a Pierson miss. A bucket by Casey Crowley drew the Whalers to within three with 2:36 remaining, but Banados beat back the charge with a three-point bomb.

Unfazed, Crowley caromed in a three-pointer to pull Pierson within three again, at 57-54 with 2:02 left. Then, as can often happen, an unlikely hero came through, Bees’ back-up forward Pablo Londono putting his team back up five by getting open inside and laying-in a short shot with 1:40 remaining.

While the Whalers’ Luke Kirrane closed the margin to three with 55 seconds left and Dylan Hmielenski to one with 29 seconds left, there was to be no comeback for the home team. With the shot clock off and Pierson forced to foul to regain possession, Wyche hit two free throws to make the score 61-58 Bridgehampton with 16.4 seconds left.

Two missed three-point tries by Pierson had both teams scrambling after the ball, with players on both benches standing, pointing and screaming. When travel was called on the Bees with 5.5 seconds left, it gave the Whalers one last shot.

But, again, no one on the home team was able to work himself free. The ball went up without any chance of it going through the net and the buzzer sounded to give the visitors the win.

 

The Difference

Much can be said of a game that saw Pierson finish off the first half on a 10-0 run, up 29-22, and Bridgehampton start the second 7-0 to even up the score. Then, somewhat unconventionally, there were successive runs of 6-2, 5-0, 9-0, 4-0, 4-1, back and forth for each team, with Pierson up 48-43 before Bridgehampton went 6-1 to tie.

While Wyche led all scorers with 29 points, 10 coming from the line and 9 behind the arc, it may have been his defenders who had the greatest impact on the game. The physical effort put in by Whalers Ryan Miller and Tyler Gilbride in trying to rein in quick and wiry Wyche led them to foul out of the game, both in the fourth quarter.

Their absence left the Whalers without their quickest and most consistent perimeter defenders and without a pair of ball-handlers who had accounted for a quarter of the Whaler points (Gilbride seven, Miller six) when they went to sit; that slowed the Pierson offense and left Wyche free to drive the lane and dish to Banados, Londono and Hires when the Whaler forwards were forced to cut him off.

His two keepers locked up, Wyche hit two clutch three-pointers, one coming out of the technical foul possession with 40 seconds left in regulation, to bring the Bees within one at 48-47, and the other to start overtime. Wyche stayed strong at the free throw line, despite all the contact, going 10 for 14 there; as a team the Bees were 16 of 22 (72%) at the line while the Whalers were 15 of 25 (60%), the misses making a difference.

 

The Coaches

Pierson’s Fred Marienfeld said afterwards, “We didn’t finish what we started. The technical and our foul shooting gave them extra chances in the last minute. We can’t let that happen. If someone tells me before the game that we’re scoring 58 points, I’m thinking we’re winning, but nothing’s a given.” To make the playoffs the Whalers must now win three out of their last six, knowing that the top of the division Mercy, Stony Brook and Greenport are tough and that Shelter Island, Ross and Smithtown Christian are no picnic.

Bridgehampton’s Carl Johnson was much subdued afterwards, still recovering from the passing of his mother, and having allowed assistant and former Killer Bee standout Ronnie White to be the more vocal leader from the bench. “We’ve come together in the way I knew we could when we started the season. Ainsley’s come along; he’s seeing the floor well, controlling the pace and finding a way to get everyone involved. And everyone’s contributing in all ways, on both ends, and that’s why we’ve been winning. We need two more and who knows what might happen.”

 

Other Game Totals

Also scoring points for Bridgehampton were Hires with 11, Banados and Londono with eight, Caanan Campbell, three, Nathan Hochstedler and Evan Marzan, two each. Hires and Londono pulled down 10 rebounds each, while Wyche notched nine assists.

Pierson was lead by Crowley’s 18 points and Kirrane’s 11. Jake Weingartner and Skyler Loesch both scored seven and Hmielenski added two, both from the line. Kirrane was credited with seven rebounds and Miller eight, Crowley recording four assists.

 

Whaler/Crusaders

The Whaler win last Friday at Smithtown Christian was no easy feat, the host Crusaders keeping the game close and refusing to surrender. Pierson pulled ahead 10-8 in the first, and held a 25-21 advantage at the half, Joey Dowling scoring eight early on to lead the Whalers.

The Crusaders worked their way back in the game, the score 36-all after the third. The outcome was unclear until Gilbride threw in a three-pointer with 1:30 left to put Pierson up 52-49 and Smithtown Christian missed a potential tying three-pointer with 15 seconds left. Dowling led the Whalers with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

 

What’s Ahead

 The Whalers, now 4-4 in League VIII, make their way to Shelter Island tomorrow, the JV tipping off at 4 p.m., the varsity at 5:45 p.m. With mid-terms next week, there’s a break in the Pierson schedule until Mercy comes in next Friday, the JVs meeting at 4:30 p.m., the varsities at 6:15 p.m.

Bridgehampton, now 5-3, has a rough road games ahead, playing away at Mercy tomorrow at 7 p.m. and traveling to Greenport next Friday.

Ross, a playoff long-shot at 2-6, is also due to travel this week, taking on Smithtown Christian there Friday at 4:30 p.m., scrimmaging in Southold Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. and ferrying over to Shelter Island next Friday.

 

 

Lady Bears Stop Lady Whalers Unbeaten Streak

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Last week, the Pierson/Bridgehampton girl’s varsity basketball team had a thrilling comeback while playing Southold; but this week the girls struggled against the ladies in Stony Brook.

The Lady Whalers did not have the stamina this week as they played on Stony Brook’s home court. Pierson put an end to their undefeated league VIII record, finishing behind Stony Brook 57-38, during last Wednesday’s game, giving the Whalers a 3-1 for their League VIII games overall.

“We were cold in the beginning,” varsity coach Dennis Case said, “It took us a while to get going, but I think we played very good.”

He said although the girls struggled a bit, they were able to narrow the score to 18-12 by the middle of the second quarter, and the Lady Whalers drove the ball down court five times that period, but didn’t follow through at the score board, said Case. “We were only down 11 at the half,” he continued. At that point the score was 27-18, Lady Whalers trailing.

“ [Stony Brook] had a total of nine threes,” Case said, “We had to play our “A” game to beat them,” he added.

Stony Brook found it hard to rebound against Pierson, with the Lady Whalers passing and running the ball well. But, according to the coach, Stony Brook just kept “shooting threes.”

“We played hard, it was a tough game,” he said, “We were only down six at that one point.” 

Stony Brook had 12 two-pointers and the nine three-pointers to give them their lead, according to Case. Pierson senior Katie Oseicki had the only two three-pointers, which did not stand up to Stony Brook’s, which quadrupled that amount.

Oseicki was top scorer that game with a total of 12 points.

Two girls on the Stony Brook team were able to earn 44 of the 57 total points for their team.

“They were lights out,” Case said. “They were really on that night.”

Gabrielle Arondel, a senior, followed Oseicki with 10 points, and Bridgehampton senior Ala Pinckney followed with eight points.

The match-up this week will be the Lady Whalers at home versus the Shelter Island Indians on Friday at 5:45 p.m. Last time the Lady Whalers beat Shelter Island 51-39 on the Rock.

Junior Varsity

Pierson’s Junior Varsity girl’s basketball is not far behind their Varsity counterparts. Right now they are 3-2 in league games, losing their last game against Stony Brook 19-41. Last Monday, however, the girls beat Southold by 13 points, 33-20. JV played against the Ross School – who only has a JV team – on January 9, and beat them by two points, for a final score 25-23.

“We have five games left and are hoping to win four of them,” Coach Haley Luzim said on Wednesday.

She added that she believes they are “very capable of beating Mercy,” who they lost to the first time around.

“We must play our “A” game against Shelter Island and Ross,” she said, “They gave us a good fight last time we played them.”

She said the girls are practicing hard, and concentrating on their bank shots, rebounds and passes.

“I have seen a tremendous improvement from the first year players, many of which have gained ample playing time,” she added.

Lady Whalers Thump Monarchs by 30

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As the Pierson Varsity Girls Basketball team went head to head with the McGann-Mercy Monarchs on Tuesday, the Lady Whalers were able to pull out a huge lead, beating Mercy by a whopping 30 points, ending the game 52-22.

“We had them right from the get-go,” Coach Dennis Case said on Wednesday.

It was a sweet victory for the Lady Whalers who are currently 2-0 in their League VIII games.

During Tuesday’s game the Pierson girls were ahead 16-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Coach Dennis Case said that he was surprised by the girl’s huge win.

 “I thought they might be a rusty,” he said, considering the girls were on a break for the holiday season, practicing during that time, but only a couple of times.

And the girls appeared only to get stronger as the game pressed on.

 

Approaching the half, the Lady Whalers managed a 30-11 lead above the Monarchs. As the third quarter rolled around, they were ahead by 31 points, leading Mercy 49-18. Starting senior Katie Osiecki, although sick according to Case, gained 19 points for the Whalers.

“She was off, you could tell,” Case said, but still was the top scorer for Pierson. The second lead scorer during Tuesday’s game was sophomore Samantha James, with 13 points. Ala Pinckney, who plays for Pierson from Bridgehampton, had a great game, according to the coach and pulled out 12 points for the Lady Whalers.

Case said that Pinckney played guard for the Whalers that night.

“It gave us a good chance to take a good look at our subs,” Case said.

“We worked on getting things better and running the break,” he also noted that the girls played good defense.

Other scorers that game included Gabrielle Arondel, a senior, who had four points, and Sarah Barrett, a sophomore, who also shot two free throws earning four points for Pierson.

Case said their next game is against Southold on Monday. The coach said he was surprised to hear that Southold had lost to the Shelter Island Indians, while Pierson beat those girls on December 23, 51-39. Shelter Island, however, narrowly beat Southold on January 5, 35-33.

“That makes us feel good,” the coach remarked. 

 

Early Season Gut Check

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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.

Under Pressure

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.

 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.

 Local League VIII highlights

 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.

 

Whalers 2-0 at Holiday Break

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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.”

 

What’s Next

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.