Tag Archive | "boy’s varsity basketball"

Pierson Whalers: Replacing Graduates

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web Varsity Basketball Practice '11_5071

By Andrew Rudansky


As the months grow colder, varsity basketball returns to the high school landscape around the East End. For the Pierson Whalers this means reconstituting a boys’ team that has seen eight players, two-thirds of its roster, lost to graduation.

Last year the Whalers finished the season with a disappointing 5-9 record, missing the “magic” .500 season and a spot in the Suffolk County Class C playoffs by just two games. Despite the losing record, head coach Dan White said that he wasn’t disappointed with the team’s effort.

“We were competitive in all of our games,” he said, giving special praise to Pierson alumni Tyler Gilbride, Jake Weingartner and Seamus Doyle.

White said those three players by themselves accounted for half of the team’s scoring last season.

White, now in his second year as skipper for the Whalers, and his assistant coaches Eric Anderson and John Tortorella, held the first team practice yesterday, November 16. They will have a lot of work to do forming a team around what few varsity players remain from last year.

Among those returning are seniors Ben Miller and Mike Heller. White said the tall forwards will be “key” to the offensive schemes that he has planned for this season.

“We will be counting on these two guys a lot,” said White, who said their experience will make them invaluable to the team’s cohesiveness.

Joining them from last year are Patrick Sloane and Jackson Marienfeld, two juniors who both play at the guard position. White said that he is leaning towards letting Sloane lead the team at point guard, while relying on Marienfeld for starting shooting guard or small forward.

White said that while these four will play a significant role in the Whaler’s game plan, he hasn’t set an official starting lineup and the incoming JV players will all have an opportunity to earn their own spot in the starting five.

These JV players will have to learn fast to compete at the varsity level, however White said that he is not overly concerned with the relative youth of his team.

“Our JV team was very strong last year,” said White.

He credits JV Head Coach Tortorella with creating several strong classes of future varsity players. Last year the team took home the JV league championship, and White thinks the new players can easily transition to the varsity level.

The league had its own shakeup this year when perennial top-dogs, the Port Jefferson Royals, moved up to league VII, leaving the field wide open for a number of teams.

Pierson’s first game of the season is a non-league matchup against the Sayville Golden Flashes on December 13. The Whalers’ first league game is at the Bridgehampton Killer Bees on December 16.

Ross Cosmos: Hoping to Repeat

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Ross Boys Varsity Basketball Preview

By Andrew Rudansky

There was a time when the Ross Cosmos boys’ varsity basketball team posed little threat in League VIII. However the winds are changing at Ross, and now more than any other time in their 20-year existence they are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Just last season the Cosmos finished with a 6-8 won-loss record and went undefeated against all of their Class D rivals. That was good enough to get them the Suffolk County Class D championship and bring them to the Class D Southeast Regional semi-finals, where they finally fell to the Biondi Lions on March 8, 2011.

This was the first time in school history that Ross has reached the playoffs.

Now looking to build on that success, four of the five starters from last year’s playoff team have returned. Kelly McKee, now in his fourteenth year as head coach of the Cosmos, said that these returning starters will be crucial to the continued success of the squad.

Starting at shooting guard is senior captain Liam Chaskey, a fourth year varsity player who is coming off a personally disappointing season, one cut short by a debilitating ankle sprain.

“Hopefully [Chaskey] can get a full year in, he deserves it,” said McKee.

Senior Fuhito Yoshida is returning as the starting point guard. McKee said he will be counting on Yoshida to run the Cosmos offense through distributing the ball.

At the forward position McKee will tap the talents of senior captain Hayden Aldredge and the team’s “big man,” junior Roosevelt Odidi.

Joining these starters will be a number of other returning varsity players and a few new members of Ross’ JV squad. Tryouts for the final team roster began yesterday, November 16 and continue until tomorrow. McKee said that he was excited about the prospects he has in the coming season.

“Because we have so many returning players we should have the experience to be able to do a little of everything on the court,” said McKee.

Not everything is rosy for the Cosmos however, as this year the Class D field got a little bit more crowded.

Smithtown Christian, a Class D school, is the new kid on the block in League VIII basketball after replacing the outgoing Class C Port Jefferson Royals. Last year Smithtown Christian couldn’t field a varsity squad, but now the school provides another hurdle for Ross in their pursuit of a second Suffolk County title in two years.

The Cosmos take on this new competitor two times this season, the first time at home on January 1.

“We always like to play good competition,” said McKee, who welcomed the challenge of another team.

The Cosmos’ first league game is an away game against Greenport on Monday, December 12 at 6:45 pm.