Hot shooting led the East Hampton boys basketball team to a 72-69 win over Pierson in a non-league game that was the season opener for both teams on Saturday in East Hampton.
The Bonackers shot 50 percent from the field for the game, connecting on 22 of 44 shots, while also making nine of 18 three-pointers.
Brothers Danny and Kyle McKee, both guards, led the way for East Hampton, scoring 16 and 15 points, respectively. The Bonackers had balanced scoring, with Brandon Kennedy-Gay adding 12 points, Brendan Hughes scoring 10, Thomas Nelson adding eight, Zack Tilstra scoring six, and Kevin Fee contributing five.
Pierson was led by Forrest Loesch, who had 20 points, and Ian Barrett, who had 18. Sean Sloane chipped in 12, while Robbie Evjen had seven, and Micah Hemby added six.
The Whalers had a seven-point lead late in the third quarter, but at that point both Evjen and Duncan Bennett picked up their fourth fouls, forcing them to the bench. East Hampton went on a 5-0 run to close the third quarter down just two points. Evjen and Bennett then fouled out early in the fourth quarter, while Loesch went out with a foot injury with three minutes left in the game. Down 71-69 with 20 seconds left, Pierson missed a layup and then missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
“I thought defensively we were weak without Robbie and Duncan, which we can improve on,” Pierson head coach Dan White said. “Offensively, we played well and had seven people contribute. I was impressed by our mental toughness late in the game. We were down seven with Forrest, Robbie and Duncan out, and got it to 71-69. East Hampton is a solid team with a lot of weapons. Ultimately, we didn’t defend the three well enough, and foul trouble hurt us late.”
East Hampton head coach Bill McKee thought his team’s defensive effort, particularly late in the game, was a key to the win. “Our kids played a little bit better defense,” he said. His sons also did a nice job on offense late in the game, accounting for 16 of East Hampton’s 24 points in the fourth quarter.
“Overall, I think offensively we played pretty well,” coach McKee said. “Seventy-two points is pretty good. I was disappointed in our defense—but you have to give Sag Harbor credit, they had a lot to do with that. Our inexperience showed at times. We had four players who played a lot of minutes, and it was their first varsity game. But they were able to overcome that in the fourth quarter, and I thought it was a good win.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Pierson—Tuesday, 12/10, at Bridgehampton, 6 p.m.; Friday, 12/13, vs. Smithtown Christian, 6:15 p.m.; Tuesday, 12/17, vs. Stony Brook, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 12/20, vs. Southold, 6:15 p.m. East Hampton—Tuesday, 12/10, vs. Shoreham Wading/River, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 12/14, at ESM, 1:45 p.m.; Tuesday, 12/17, at Amityville, 4 p.m.; Thursday, 12/19, vs. Elwood/John Glenn, 6 p.m.