The past few seasons have been successful ones for the Pierson boys basketball team—a trend the Whalers are hoping to continue this year.
Under the leadership of fourth-year head coach Dan White, Pierson won its first county title in decades two years ago, beating Stony Brook on a last-second three-pointer by Forrest Loesch. Last season, the Bears exacted revenge with a lopsided victory over the Whalers in the county final.
Stony Brook, which won the League VIII regular season title in 2012 with only one league loss—courtesy of Pierson—should be the team to beat again. The Bears are returning three starters and also have two new transfer students, one from Mercy and one from Holy Trinity, who should add to their strength.
But Pierson has plenty of firepower back as well, despite some losses to graduation. Senior Loesch, who led the team in scoring with 18 points per game last year, is back and should be an explosive scoring threat again. Senior guard Ian Barrett, who averaged 10 points per game last year, also returns and will be a solid scorer and ball-handler for the Whalers. The team also brings back its leading rebounder in junior Robbie Evjen. Returning senior guards Cooper Marienfeld, Micah Hemby and Garrett Potter will give Pierson depth in the back court as well, and forward Nick Stevens should increase his production this year as a returning player.
White said he expects Loesch, Barrett and Evjen to lead the team in scoring and complement each other on the court. He added that Marienfeld, Hemby, Potter, sophomore Andrew Roberts and freshman Sean Sloane are all good shooters. “They should have plenty of opportunities to knock down open threes due to Ian, Forrest and Robbie’s play-making ability,” White said.
Veterans and newcomers alike will need to step up their game to offset the loss of six seniors, most notably sharp-shooting guard Joey Butts, guard Jackson Marienfeld, and forwards Pat Sloane and Jake Bennett. Those four each averaged between eight and 12 points per game, while Bennett and Sloane were First Team All-Conference selections.
While Stony Brook is considered the favorite early on, White said he also expects Greenport and Bridgehampton to be tough. Greenport returns two of its top players, while the Killer Bees only lost one player to graduation, leading scorer Jason Hopson. Greenport has moved back down to Class D this year, meaning that the Porters would not be in Pierson’s bracket (Class C) in the playoffs. White said he expects Shelter Island and Ross to be more competitive this year as well.
Pierson will start the season at East Hampton for a non-league game on December 7 at 5 p.m. and will visit Bridgehampton to start the League VIII season on December 10 for a 6 p.m. game.