The Pierson and Bridgehampton boys basketball teams have had decidedly different starts to the season in League VIII.
The Whalers had a pair of dominant wins last week, cruising past the Killer Bees in Bridgehampton for a 68-41 win on December 10 before enjoying a 79-49 romp over Smithtown Christian at home on Friday. Bridgehampton, meanwhile, has struggled without its starting point guard, Tylik Furman, who has been out with a torn miniscus. After the loss to Pierson, the Killer Bees were edged, 69-64, at Ross on Thursday. The Killer Bees dropped to 0-3 with the loss, 0-2 in League VIII. Pierson moved to 2-0 in League VIII, 2-1 overall.
Against Bridgehampton, Whalers guard Ian Barrett had what head coach Dan White called “one of his most complete games since I’ve had him,” scoring 21 points to go along with six assists and eight rebounds. Pierson was in control from start to finish against the Killer Bees, who struggled to get into a rhythm. Bridgehampton head coach Carl Johnson said that the absence of Furman hurt his team on both ends of the floor.
“He spearheads our offense and our defense,” Johnson said, adding that Barrett, in particular, seemed to benefit from Furman’s absence. “[With Furman] we could have controlled it a little bit.”
Johnson added that with two first-year varsity players on the floor in Matt Hostetler and Elijah Jackson, his team also lacked in experience, and he added that his more veteran players didn’t necessarily perform up to his standards.
“I didn’t think my seniors stepped up to their duties, which are keeping the composure out there and bringing the other guys along,” he said.
Johnson said he expects Furman to be back on the court after the holiday break. Furman was cleared to practice early this week, but needs to get the requisite numbers of practices before he can play in a game. Bridgehampton will face Smithtown Christian and non-league foe East Rockaway before Furman gets back in the game.
While Barrett was the standout scorer for Pierson, he wasn’t the only one who contributed in the win. Robbie Evjen had 20 rebounds and Duncan Bennett added 16, giving Pierson a distinct advantage on the boards. Forrest Loesch added 18 points.
“I thought we played well defensively in the first half,” White said. “Not having Tylik hurt [Bridgehampton’s] ability to create for each other.”
In the win over Smithtown Christian, Loesch led Pierson with 21 points, while Sean Sloane and Micah Hemby each had 15, and Barrett had 13. Hemby hit four three-pointers, which carried Pierson early in the game. Pierson’s offense helped overcome a lackluster effort on defense in the first half. The Whalers stepped it up in that department in the second half, holding Smithtown Christian scoreless in the first four minutes of the third quarter while allowing the Knights to put up only one shot.
“It was good to see that we have the ability defensively, but they simply have to put it ahead of their offense, which is tough to do, but necessary for us to succeed,” White said.
A lack of defense was a problem for Bridgehampton in its loss to Ross. The Killer Bees were up by 10 points early in the first half, but then they allowed standout guard Leo Cheng to get hot. Cheng finished with 32 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter.
“He shredded our defense, and that’s where we’re lacking right now,” Johnson said. The Bridgehampton coach added that his players were also a dismal 9 for 23 from the free-throw line. “More than half of those were one-and-ones,” he said. “There’s your game right there.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Pierson—Tuesday, 12/17, vs. Stony Brook, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 12/20, vs. Southold, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 12/27, vs. Shoreham (non-league), 12:30 p.m.; Friday, 1/3, at Shelter Island, 2 p.m. Bridgehampton—Tuesday, 12/17, at Smithtown Christian, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12/21, at East Rockaway (non-league), 11 a.m.; Friday, 1/3, at Southold, 6:15 p.m.