It might not have been the prettiest display of basketball, but the League VIII matchup between the Bridgehampton and Pierson boys basketball teams did not disappoint on Tuesday, December 16.
In an overtime nail-biter, the Whalers prevailed with a 62-59 win in the Bee Hive in a game that was characterized by a plenty of turnovers and missed free throws. Pierson had a golden opportunity to win the game in regulation when the Bees were whistled for a foul as time expired with the game tied at 54-54.
Bridgehampton’s Nate Hochstedler had hit a shot seconds earlier to tie the game.
But junior captain Joe Dowling missed both free throws, giving Bridgehampton new life.
The Bees scored the first three points of the extra period to take a 57-54 lead, but the Whalers went on an 8-0 run after that to take control of the game for good. The run began with 2:35 remaining when Nick DePetris made one of two free throw attempts. Luke Kirrane followed suit, making one of two shots from the foul line to cut the deficit to 57-56 before Dowling scored with 2:22 left to give Pierson a 58-57 lead it would not relinquish.
At the 2:03 mark, Bridgehampton’s Cesar Banados missed a pair of free throws and on the next possession, Pierson sophomore Dylan Hmielenski fed Dowling with a nice pass, giving the Whalers a 60-57 lead. With 50 seconds left, Hmielenski connected on a layup to extend the lead to 62-57. Evan Marzan hit a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left to bring the Bees within three, but the Whaler defense kept Bridgehampton off the board for the rest of the game.
“Whenever we play them, it’s always madness,” Pierson head coach Fred Marienfeld said.
While he acknowledged that both teams failed to execute and had trouble handling the ball, he said he was pleased to see his team get a victory in its first league game against a heated rival.
“I think if you talk to both coaches, each one would feel that they gave the other team too many chances,” he said. “But we’re 1-0 in our league and we beat our biggest rival in their gym, so I’m very happy with that.”
The Whalers had the hot hand early in the game, taking a 16-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Bees began to battle back in the second quarter and were down by just one point at halftime.
In the third quarter, Bridgehampton got out to an eight-point lead, only to see that lead disappear by the start of the fourth.
Dowling proved to be the anchor for the Whalers.
He scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half and finished with 17 rebounds.
Bridgehampton was led by Ansley Wyche, who finished with 25 points, and Cesar Banados, who scored 20 points.