Tag Archive | "Pierson Whalers"

Boys Still Looking for a Win

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By Jesse Rosenthal

Following a tough 3-2 loss in Center Moriches to wrap up a three game series on Friday, the Pierson Baseball Whalers were looking for a win at home in their first non-league matchup against Hampton Bays on Tuesday. Unfortunately, solid pitching from freshman Devon Havens of Hampton Bays, and Pierson hits that just couldn’t find the gaps resulted in a 5-0 shoutout loss for the Whalers.

After no score through two, Hampton Bays came out swinging in the top of the third. With Brandon Kruel on the mound for the Whalers, Hampton Bays scored three runs on two singles to left field and one to right.

An error in the top of the fourth allowed one more run scored for Hampton Bays, and a single to left in the top of the fifth led to the final run of the game being scored against Pierson.

Although the Whalers didn’t come out on top, Tuesday’s loss was another learning experience for Coach Tortorella and his players. With eleven players on the roster who would normally be starters, and no shortage of pitching talent, the Whalers are moving players around and battling to find a cohesive, consistent infield. They have been struggling late in games at the shortstop position, “which is something we are going to work on this week,” according to assistant Coach Benito Vila.

The loss was certainly not due to lack of effort on the part of Coach Tortorella and the varsity boys.

“We worked so hard on our defense, especially this past week,” said Tortorella. “Even though we made some plays, we still need to be consistent. We cannot give up extra opportunities. We’re confident we’ll get to where we need to be defensively, we just have to keep working and maintain our focus.”

Offensively, Pierson didn’t put any runs on the board, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of contact. “We made better contact today,” said Tortorella. “Unfortunately, we hit it right at the defense and they made the plays.” Joey Dowling went 1-3 with a double, and Eddie Schall went 1-3 with a single.

Given some run support, and had the defense made some key plays, Brandon Kruel’s pitching performance would have looked as good on the field as it does on paper. Over seven innings pitched Kruel struck out five, allowing only one earned run and three hits. “Brandon pitched very well,” said Tortorella. “His control was there all game and he forced the hitters to keep it on the ground. I was very impressed with his outing today.”

The Whalers have a chance for non-league redemption come Thursday when they play again in Hampton Bays. Coach Tortorella is looking forward to the opportunity.

“The great thing about this game is we have a chance to come back right away and play another game,” he said. “We need to keep working on certain things and get this going the way we know it can. We just need to pick ourselves up today and get back to work.”

Look for some divisional competition the following week as the Whalers gear up for a three game series against Port Jefferson, beginning away at Port Jeff on Tuesday, April 20, continuing at Pierson on Wednesday, April 21 and ending away the following Friday. Port Jefferson is 1-3 overall on the season.

Center Moriches Takes Advantage of Whaler Defense

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By Jesse Rosenthal

It was a tough week so far for the Pierson Baseball Whalers. The season opener at Center Moriches on Tuesday resulted in 6-0 no hitter for Center Moriches pitcher Joey Gonzalez. Two stolen bases and two singles in the second inning, followed by a lead-off homerun and a wild pitch in the fifth and some all-around tired defense through six and seven contributed to the six runs scored against Pierson.

Last night’s home opener saw a more productive Whaler offense and some solid early pitching from starter Brandon Kruel, but ultimately errors in the double digits and hot bats at the top of Center Moriches’ order led to a 15-8 loss for Tortorella’s Whalers.

Following a quick top of the first in which Kruel struck out two, walked one and made an easy play on a ground ball back to the mound, the Whalers offense came out swinging.

A lead-off walk for Tyler Gilbride and a hard hit single on the ground into left from Jake Federico found the Whalers with good speed on both bags. A failed pick-off attempt and a passed ball at first base put both runners in scoring position. A single to left from catcher Jake Weingartner gave the Whalers an early 2-0 lead.

In the top of the second Center Moriches responded with some offense of their own. Two singles, one chop to the shortstop, and two errors later the game was tied at 2-2. After some serious hustle from pitcher Brandon Kruel led to a Center Moriches baserunner being tagged out between third and home things started to get hairy. After hitting a batter and walking the next, Kruel found himself in a two-out, bases loaded jam facing Bampure, Center Moriches number three hitter. Kruel kept his cool and Bampure went down swinging to end the inning.

Center Moriches scored one more in the top half of the third on two singles to center field, a wild pitch and a hard chop to second baseman Gavin Kudlak.

A line drive single to left off the bat of Jake Federico to lead off the bottom of the third put some quick feet on first. Federico, who went 3-for-4 on the day, stole second and third and then tagged up on a sac fly to center field from Dane Riva to tie the game at three.

The top of four saw Kruel retire two batters in two pitches, both hard grounders to Federico who displayed solid defensive skills as well. Another ground out gave Kruel a three-up, three-down fourth.

A double in the gap in right center off the bat of Brandon Kruel, followed by some heads up baserunning gave the Whalers a 4-3 lead after four innings.

In the top of the fifth, however, the wheels fell off. A Joey Gonzalez triple followed by an error at third found Gonzalez scoring and a runner on first. After stealing second and then arriving at third on a wild pitch, Center Moriches picked up a walk to get runners at the corners. With one out, Federico misplayed a possible double play ball, allowing one run to score and putting Center Moriches ahead 5-4. A single to left and then a walk with the bases juiced scored one more.

Tortorella moved Kruel to first base and brought in reliever Eddie Schall to try and get out of a bases loaded situation. “Brandon pitched very well,” said Tortorella. He pitched out of some trouble and kept the hitters off balance. I thought he did a good job today.”

With Schall on the mound, a questionable call on a double up the left field line scored two more and the Whalers were able to get out of the inning, but not without allowing the lead to grow to 8-4.

Following a one, two, three bottom of the fifth for the Whalers offense and an uneventful sixth, the Whalers defense crumbled in the seventh. Multiple errors in the field, two wild pitches and another Gonzalez triple (aided by an error at second base), left the Whalers looking at an 8-run deficit.

Donald Doran came in to pitch relief with one out, but was unable to stifle the Center Moriches offense. Tired defense and another wild pitch gave Center Moriches a 15-4 lead after half of seven.

The Whalers rallied late, scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to close the gap.

“We didn’t make the plays in pressure situations,” said assistant coach Benito Vila. “They are a good hitting team and they will capitalize on those situations,” he said of Center Moriches.

The Whalers were not completely unworthy of praise, however. “Jake and Brandon were impressive at the plate,” said Tortorella. “They had a great approach and hit the ball very well. Both players made a difference on the bases as well.”

Going into the third game of the series, which is at Center Moriches on Friday, Coach Tortorella is looking to make the necessary adjustments.

“Our performance was unacceptable and the boys know that. I never question their heart or attitude, we just need to make some plays out there. I know they will come back tomorrow and get us to where we need to be. We need to learn from today and make sure we play this game the right way.”

Boys Find Their Rhythm


by Jesse Rosenthal


With the weather warming up last week, the Pierson Varsity baseball Whalers found their groove and played solid baseball in their second scrimmage against Hampton Bays on Saturday.

While they don’t keep score for scrimmages, it looked as though the Whalers would have come out on top, had there been an official tally. Not that anyone was counting.

In what would amount to an A-1 performance both offensively and defensively from Coach Tortorella’s Whalers, strong pitching performances from the top of the rotation led the way. Brandon Kruel, Jake Weingartner and T.J. Arreguin’s  prowess on the mound, combined with solid defensive play on the diamond and in the outfield resulted in a very positive outcome for the second scrimmage of the season.

Tension was high early, however, as Brandon Kruel found himself in a bit of a pickle in the first inning, with runners breathing down his neck at second and third and only one out. Kruel was able to get out of the inning with no runs scored. “It took some toughness on his part and some help from our defense to get through that,” said Tortorella. “I liked what I saw.”

With the pitchers throwing strikes, and the defense making plays, everyone did their job on Saturday, according to Coach Tortorella. “Kruel, Weingartner and Arreguin all pitched very well,” said the coach. “They pitched to contact and let their defense do the work. It was very efficient and impressive.”

Tyler Gilbride and Jake Weingartner were strong behind home plate and Kyle McGowin made more than one pivotal defensive play in center field.

Offensively, while the lineup made great contact throughout the day, run scoring was at a minimum. 

“We need to do a better job of driving in runners,” said Tortorella, “but that will definitely come as the season progresses.”

If Saturday’s scrimmage was any indication, the Whalers are on the verge of an exciting season of baseball. There are always some adjustments that can be made,  details tweaked, but Coach Tortorella’s mindset going forward is one of optimism with a philosophy of hard work for it to stand on. “It was a good day for us,” he said. We were impressed with some things but we also need to keep working and continue to get better. It’s a tough road ahead and we’ll need to be consistent and disciplined to be successful.”

The Whalers’ third and final scrimmage, scheduled at Mattituck on Monday, was rained out. The team is looking forward to a solid week of practice over spring break to prepare them for a legitimately tough opponent in Center Moriches come April 6. That game, the regular season opener, is the first of a three game series. The Whalers will be away at Center Moriches on April, 6, home at Mashashamuet on the seventh, and then back to Center Moriches on the 9th to wrap up the series. All three games start at 4:30 p.m.

Boys Stumble in Debut Scrimmage


By Jesse Rosenthal

Following two consecutive rainouts early this week, the Pierson Baseball Whalers played their first scrimmage yesterday against the East Hampton Bonackers.  The short seven inning scrimmage ended in an 8-3 defeat for the Whalers. 

After three batters up and three batters down in the top of the first inning for senior pitcher Kyle McGowin, the Whalers were off to a promising start.

McGowin looked good out of the gate but the first would be the last scoreless inning that the Whalers would see. After leaving two men on base in the bottom half of the first, the Bonackers scored two on a couple base hits and a passed ball at home plate.

Pierson’s bats were hot early. After hitting a single through the infield gap, Brandon Kruel scored easily on a right field double off the bat of Mark Mahoney. Lead-off man Tyler Gilbride supplied a looping fly ball into short center, earning himself an RBI and tying the game in the process.

The Bonackers responded in kind with a lead-off triple, followed by a base hit to to take the lead. The Whalers tied it right back up on an infield single from Kruel. After McGowin forced the Bonackers to leave runners on 2nd and 3rd in the top of the fourth, East Hampton’s pitching change in the bottom half of that inning resulted in three men left on base. The defining moment in this baseball game, the pitching change would leave the Whalers offensively stifled for the remainder of play. Such was the tempo of the game until the wheels fell of for Pierson in the top of the fifth. They gave up two on one fly ball over the head of Dane Riva in left field, and a sacrifice fly to left to make it 5-3 Bonackers.

A comeback still looked probable until the top of the seventh inning when reliever Jake Federico gave up three runs on four hits. Unable to respond offensively, the Whalers ended their first scrimmage with a disappointing 8-3 loss at the hands of the Bonackers.

Coach Tortorella’s two pitching changes failed to stop the able bats of the Bonackers as McGowin, Donald Doran and Jake Federico gave up a combined eight runs over seven innings of baseball. The starting rotation shouldn’t take all the heat here though. Not all of the eight runs were earned, and careless errors in the field contributed to costing the whalers a pre-season win. Also, the Whalers’ offense which was competitive early, fizzled in the last few innings. But it’s only a scrimmage, and the very first one at that.

“We made some mistakes,” said Coach Tortorella. “It’s the first scrimmage of the season. I’d rather make them now and be able to fix them then be making them further into the season.”

The Whalers may have room for improvement, but it’s as early in the season as it’s going to be and Coach Tortorella has ample time to make the necessary adjustments. The talent is visibly there; It’s the fundamentals that may be lacking at this early stage.

Coach Tortorella said prior to this game that he was looking for an increase in intensity, preparedness, teamwork and hustle from his players. If yesterday’s scrimmage was any indication, preparedness may be where there is most room for improvement.

Yesterday’s scrimmage was a make-up game for a rainout originally scheduled for March 22. Coming up are two more scrimmages before the regular season opener. The first is away in Hampton Bays this Saturday, March 27, at 10:30 a.m., followed by another road trip to Mattituck on the 29th at 1:00 p.m. The season opener, which is the first in a three game series, will be played at Center Moriches on April, 6 at 4:30 p.m.

Look for some tough competition from Center Moriches, who along with fellow divisional rivals Southold, recorded a 15-6 overall record last season. Following the Center Moriches series is a non-league two game series against Hampton Bays.

Ladies Set to Open

Also, watch for the Pierson softball Lady Whalers who will be making their season opening debut at Southold this Friday, March 26 at 4:00 p.m. The Lady Whalers have played three scrimmages so far, for which they do not keep score. Coach Melissa Edwards is looking forward to a promising season with six returning players rounding out a solid squad.

“We expect to go out every day and be the best that we can be that given day,” said Edwards. “We expect to not put an emphasis on one specific day or game, and just give it our all, day in and day out. By doing that we will see the success unfold.”

Another Tough Week for Pierson Basketball

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By Benito Vila

Scoreboards can be painful at times, sort of like a gas pump gone awry, one set of numbers getting bigger and another set smaller. It’s no fun to keep looking up and see the minutes winding down and the other team’s total staying out ahead of yours.

That was the unfortunate experience for the Pierson varsity teams this week, the Lady Whalers losing 59-25 to undefeated Stony Brook there last Thursday and the Whalers finding themselves behind at the final buzzer 54-33 Friday at home against Stony Brook and 46-40 Monday at Smithtown Christian.

Those outcomes drop the girls to 6-5 on the season, a first-round playoff match-up with Stony Brook set for next Tuesday in Stony Brook at 5 p.m. The boys are now 2-11, their hard work and persistent play not finding its way into the win column.

Both teams were due to play their regular season finales last night but yesterday’s snowstorm has pushed those games to this afternoon. The Lady Whalers are set to host Port Jefferson at 4:30 p.m. in a “Coaches versus Cancer” fundraiser. The Whalers, meanwhile, are planning on making their way to Bridgehampton for a 5 p.m. start.

Watch Out For the Bees

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By Benito Vila

There’ll be no welcome mat for the Ross School varsity basketball team as they come into the Bridgehampton School tomorrow evening. Their hosts, the Killer Bees, are hoping to pack their cozy home court, commonly called “The Hive”, with black-and-yellow clad fans for a 5 p.m. tip-off.

At 6-5 in league play, the Killer Bees are just one win away from clinching a playoff showdown with Greenport on Saturday, February 20 in Longwood for the Suffolk Class D title. After the 4-7 Ravens, the Bridgehampton schedule has a date at 9-2 Stony Brook and a home finale against 2-9 Pierson.

The Whalers made their way back into the win column last Friday, protecting their home court in a 61-50 victory over Ross. That match-up was closely played until late in the third quarter when the Pierson boys Pierson went on a 10-2 run to take control of the contest.

Given the Ravens sharp outside shooting the outcome was still in question until Pierson’s Skyler Loesch hit a pair of free throws with 1:26 left to put his team up, 54-45. Another pair of Loesch free throws with 49 second remaining all but finished the affair, leaving the Ravens down eight, at 57-49.

The Ravens woes continued Tuesday, Stony Brook coming to Ross and stealing away with a 74-49 win. With only Bridgehampton, 11-0 Southold and 8-3 Greenport left on the schedule, the odds are against Ross increasing its win total, a 3-0 start now a bit like a dream.

A New Spark

The Killer Bees meanwhile have overcome an 0-2 start and played the top of the league tough while managing to outscore the bottom of the league by an average of 30 points. That success was nearly the team’s undoing on Shelter Island Tuesday, the Indians taking a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

It was at that point that Bridgehampton coach Carl Johnson adjusted his defense, newcomer Jason Hopson turning turnovers into points and leading the Killer Bees on a 37-15 run. “Once our guys realized Shelter Island was there to play, we got fired up. In the second quarter, we started hitting our shots and it all started clicking. Changing the defense on them and being able to execute when we had chances made the difference.”

Ainsley Wyche led the Killer Bees with 16 points. Cesar Banados added 15, with Nate Hochstedler tossing in nine, Evan Marzan eight and Hopson eight. Jamal Hires closed out the Bridgehamton scoring with six points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Seven Whalers Score

The Pierson boys saw their win streak stopped at one in Greenport Tuesday, the Porters posting up a 66-29 lead before the Whalers closed on them late in a 68-38 final.

Using all of his reserves in the second half, Pierson coach Christian Johns saw players gain valuable on-court experience and learn on-the-go. Seven Whalers scored in all, led by Tyler Gilbride with 17 points. Seamus Doyle dropped in seven, Luke Kirrane five and Steven early three. Loesch and Sam Miller each had two.

Perfect Night for Pierson: Teams Sweep Ross

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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.

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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.

A Friday to Forget for Whalers, Bees and Ravens

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By Benito Vila

Friday was a day to forget on the scoreboard for the Bridgehampton, Ross, and Pierson boys’ varsity basketball teams. All three schools lost games by margins that no player wants to see, the Killer Bees losing by seven to Greenport, 54-47, the Ravens by seven to Shelter Island, 68-61 and the Whalers by 52 to Southold, 80-28.

The slim margin against the Porters turns missed shots and missed stops into chances given away, the Killer Bees allowing a W to become an L. The loss to the Indians leaves the Ravens that much farther removed from their 3-0 start, the Ross boys now 4-5 on the season, with Pierson up next eager out to avenge an early season loss and the top of the league coming after that.

The Whalers, meanwhile, at 1-8, must be wondering what has gone so wrong for them, an athletic hard-working team struggling to get the ball up-court and into the net. It’s a tough game to win without experienced ball handlers and proven shooters, the mostly underclassmen team learning as-they-go.

But there’s no way the Pierson boys are giving into making excuses for their shortcomings or even suggesting that a won-loss record is more an indication of the quality of your opponent than it is the quality of your own team; these boys want to win, and with Ross, Greenport, Stony Brook, Bridgehampton and Smithtown Christian coming up, the Whalers are sure to surprise someone before the season is out.

Raven Re-Match

High school mid-terms pushed off all competition on the court this week, every local team going back to the basics in practice with players hopefully banging the books in school and at home.

Ross comes into Pierson Friday for a 6:15 p.m. start, looking to sweep the season series and add to the Whalers woes. The Whalers are hoping to be less generous as hosts than they were as visitors.

In their first match-up, Pierson turnovers and traveling calls left Ross with extra possessions that the Raven shooters, Liam Chaskey, Brendan Pettaway and Fuhito Yoshiba turned into quick points, both from the floor and from the line.

Never before had a Ross boys basketball team ever beaten a Pierson one and the bedlam on the Ross court afterwards was something Ravens fans will remember for a long time to come.

Crusaders, Indians and Ravens

Now having lost to the three top teams in the league by a collective 23 points, the Bridgehampton boys are out to win their next three to clinch a playoff spot.

There’s not a sport in the world where wins are automatic, but the Killer Bees cruised past their next three opponents, Smithtown Christian, Shelter Island and Ross, the first time around by a margin of 204-104. Those three are currently a collective 8-19, the common expectation being that Bridgehampton will come through those three games unscathed and playoff-bound.

Nothing Comes Easy

The Ravens saw their game against the Indians get away late, a one-point, 45-44 lead turning into a long lost dream, when Shelter Island came back to defend their home court with a 25-point fourth quarter. Despite the foul shooting of Pettaway, who was 18-for-25 at the line in totaling 33 points, the Ravens couldn’t keep pace and ended up with the long ride back on the ferry.

Whalers, Bees, Ravens

After hosting Ross Friday, the Pierson boys go to Greenport next Tuesday before coming back to play Stony Brook at home next Friday at 6:15 p.m. The Whalers finish their schedule on the road against Smithtown Christian February 8 and Bridgehampton February 10.

Bridgehampton has Smithtown Christian in Friday at 5 p.m. and goes to Shelter Island next Tuesday, with Ross in “the Hive” next Friday at 5 p.m. An away game at Stony Brook, February 8, and a home game against Pierson, February 10, ends the Killer Bees regular season.

Ross has Stony Brook in next Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and heads to Bridgehampton next Friday. Southold comes in February 8 and Greenport awaits on February 10.

Discipline Works

In describing the difference in his team’s 46-26 win over Southold on Friday, Whaler JV coach Jonathan Tortorella said, “We played four quarters of disciplined basketball. We moved the ball around on offense, worked for good shots and valued every offensive possession. On the defensive end, we were very consistent all game. It was one of our better defensive efforts of the season.”

 “Patrick Sloane was matched up on their best scorer and did a very solid job. Jake Bennett, Joe Butts and Michael Heller shot very well and gave us a lift offensively. Hunter Leyser and Jackson Marienfeld did a tremendous job running the offense and making smart decisions.”

Bennett had twelve points and Heller ten to lead the young Whalers.

Boys’ Basketball: The End is in Sight

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By Benito Vila

Anticipation is something endearing songs can be written about; elimination is not. Both the Pierson Whalers and the Ross Ravens are coming to terms with the fact that losses are leaving them out of the playoff mix with just six games left to go.

The Whalers are in the weaker position, a 1-7 mark making the post-season a long shot and one more loss making it mathematically impossible. The Ravens meanwhile, at 4-4, are certainly closer, but unless there’s a victory against the league’s top four teams, the end will come early.

Bridgehampton, at 4-4, is in a better position to play on, mostly the bottom of the league left to play after going to Greenport Friday. The Killer Bees have been competing on par with the league leaders, losing to undefeated Southold, 68-65, Tuesday and to second-place Stony Brook, 64-51, last Wednesday.

In the loss to the Bears last week, the Bees saw a 44-43 lead late in the third quarter turn into a long lost moment, Stony Brook finishing the game on a 21-7 run. Tuesday’s outcome was also tough, a 56-53 fourth quarter lead over the visiting Settlers slipping away on missed opportunities.

After Tuesday’s loss, Bridgehampton coach Carl Johnson said, “A break here and there and it’s a different story. We keep preaching execution, but tonight we failed to execute. We had our chance but we didn’t capitalize.”

 “I thought we could get one against the big guys [Southold, Stony Brook and Greenport] but we haven’t yet. That makes Friday [at Greenport] even bigger for us.”

Ravens vs. Bees II

The chances of either the Bees or the Ravens playing in the post-season will likely come down to their re-match in “the Hive” in Bridgehampton, February 5. Bridgehampton won the first meeting at Ross, 83-37, ten days ago.

The Ravens have seen a 3-0 start turned around, victories over Smithtown Christian, Shelter Island and Pierson being followed by one-sided losses to the Bees and Coach Johnson’s “big three.”

Despite that, the Ross boys evened their mark Tuesday, besting the Crusaders for the second time, 69-56, at home. Brendan Pettaway, 24 points, and Liam Chaskey, 22 points, paced the Ravens, who used a 25-14 fourth quarter to put the game away. A road match-up with the Indians on Shelter Island awaits Ross tomorrow.

The Crusaders also had a tough time out this way last Wednesday, Pierson going on a 15-5 run in the fourth quarter to earn its first win of the season, 51-41. Tyler Gilbride led the Whalers with 14 points, Skyler Loesch lofting in 11. Gilbride capped the go-ahead run with a steal and lay-up to put Pierson up 10 with a minute left.

Back to Reality

The Whalers came into last Friday’s contest still pumped up, playing the Bees at Pierson, bragging rights and pride at stake. What started as a close game eventually went Bridgehampton’s way, the outside shooting of Canaan Campbell and Cesar Banados sinking the home team, 67-48.

Pierson fell behind 19 early in the third but battled back to make it a six-point game to start the fourth. But then Campbell and Banados settled back in, the pair combining for 17 points as the Bees went on a 20-10 run.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, Campbell walked off with six three-pointers and 24 points to leave his former classmates wondering what could have been if he hadn’t changed schools.

Afterwards, Campbell said, “Going against my old school was great. I found out Pierson put in new rims from friends on Facebook and I wanted to break them in right.” Citing the difference in the game, Campbell was modest, describing his team’s ability to switch up their defense and upset the Whalers’ timing as being the key to the win.

The Bees ability to change tempo and disguise defenses was almost enough to knock off the Settlers in the Hive Tuesday, but missed buckets and dropped passes underneath let the visitors leave with their win-streak in tact.

Bridgehampton’s Ainsley Wyche led all scorers with 32 points. Losing rebounder Jamal Hires to a fifth foul with four minutes remaining made the upset that much harder, the Settlers scoring 13 to the Bees’ 9 after Hires fouled out.

The Indians Get Away

The Whalers were ready to get back to winning Tuesday, holding a one-point 20-19 lead over the visiting Indians at halftime. But the second half didn’t stick to that script, Shelter Island taking a 37-32 lead after the third quarter and walking off up 51-42 at the buzzer.

Poor shooting and turnovers put Pierson at a disadvantage again, the Whalers’ hustle and hard work undone by an inability to put the ball in the hole. Gilbride led the Whalers with 18, Loesch adding 14, Sam Miller six.

Pierson travels to Southold this Friday and hosts Ross next Friday at 6:15 p.m.

Bridgehampton Threes Stump Pierson

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By Benito Vila

The Pierson gym was frenetic Friday night, the bleachers filled to near capacity with nearly half the crowd donning the yellow and black of the visiting Bridgehampton Killer Bees.

In the end, the gym became a neighborly gab-fest, fans on both sides staying on and catching up after the Killer Bees won 67-48. Bridgehampton’s Canaan Campbell led all scorers with 24 points, his teammate Cesar Banados sinking in 20. Skyler Loesch led the Whalers with 13 points, Tyler Gilbride and Luke Kirrane adding 10 apiece.

The difference in the game was Bridgehampton’s outside shooting. With Campbell and Banados both able to shoot accurately from the beyond the arc, it seemed that each time the Whalers tallied two, the visitors would put up three.

That sharp shooting came into play in the third quarter when the Whalers turned a 16-point halftime deficit to a six-point one, the score 42-36 Bridgehampton with a minute remaining. A missed lay-up by Pierson left the Killer Bees with ball, and a foul and a pair of free throws by Jamal Hires, stopped a 16-3 Whaler run.

The fourth quarter opened with Pierson’s Seamus Doyle scoring underneath to make the margin six again at 44-38 but then the Killer Bees went on a 6-0 run to put the game away. The run was started by a banked two-point shot by Campbell and two lay-ups by Banados, who went to his left-hand twice after drawing the defense to his right.

That 6-0 Bridgehampton run was part of a longer 14-5 spurt and a 23-10 sequence that closed the game. Banados and Campbell both hit threes in the last four minutes to make sure their was no question about the outcome.

Afterwards Campbell, who attended Pierson through seventh grade said, “Going against my old school was great. I found out Pierson put in new rims from friends on Facebook and I wanted to break them in right.” Citing the difference in the game, Campbell was modest, describing his team’s ability to switch up their defense and upset the Whalers’ timing as being the key to the win.