The Stony Brook High School boys basketball team exacted its revenge on Pierson, jumping ahead of the Whalers and into first place in the League VIII standings with a 56-34 win in Stony Brook on Friday night.
Pierson, the only team that beat the Bears in league play this season, now finds itself in second place with a 9-2 record in league play, 9-4 overall, while Stony Brook improved to 10-1 in the league, 11-1 overall.
Both teams had five games remaining on the league schedule as of Monday morning, meaning Pierson could still move back into first place if it takes care of business in its final games and if another of Stony Brook’s final opponents can knock off the Bears.
In the first meeting between the teams, in Sag Harbor back on December 18, the Whalers looked in control from start to finish in a 66-58 win; Pierson senior guard Forrest Loesch was unstoppable, scoring 36 points. But on Friday the Bears made adjustments on their home court, holding Loesch to a season-low four points while not allowing Pierson to break the 40-point mark on offense.
Pierson head coach Dan White took the blame for the loss. “I was outcoached,” he said. “There were several adjustments that I should have made and did not, specifically relating to Forrest and what they did to stop him. My kids played very hard and hung around early. Stony Brook played very well together, and they had an excellent game plan.
“I believe this will motivate us to improve and, hopefully, we will see them again,” White said, referring to the chance that the two teams will face each other in the playoffs. Stony Brook beat Pierson to win the Suffolk County Class C title last year, and, the year before, a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Loesch lifted Pierson to the county title win over the Bears.
Forward Robbie Evjen led Pierson with nine points in the loss.
Before the Stony Brook game, Pierson beat Smithtown Christian, 68-46, in another road game on January 23. The Whalers had only a two-point lead at halftime but stepped up their game in the second half to pull away.
“We came out flat and played excellent defense in the third to seal the deal,” White said. “Forrest did an outstanding job on [Smithtown Christian’s Caelan McCabe], who is averaging 20. This game was a solid team effort, as I played 10 guys at least five minutes, and everyone contributed.”
Both Loesch and point guard Ian Barrett finished with 23 points, while Evjen had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Pierson girls basketball team remained in first place in League VIII and improved to 7-1 in League VIII, 8-6 overall, after a 34-26 win at Stony Brook on Friday night. It was a less dominant performance by the Lady Whalers, compared to the first time they beat Stony Brook earlier this year, a 30-point victory, but head coach Kevin Barron was still satisfied with the win.
“To [Stony Brook’s] credit, they were much better this time around,” Barron said. “We were very sluggish offensively and had a lot of trouble getting shots to fall. Most of our points came off steals or one on one play, compared to previous games where we were moving the ball around nicely getting open looks in the half court. However, it was a good day defensively, only letting up 26 points.”
Guard Kasey Gilbride finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven steals, while forward Bridget Canavan had 11 points, five rebounds and three steals.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Boys—Tuesday, 1/28, at Southold, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 1/31, vs. Shelter Island, 6:15 p.m.; Tuesday, 2/4, at Greenport, 5:45 p.m. Girls—Monday, 1/27, vs. Southold/Greenport, 6:15 p.m.; Tuesday, 1/28, vs. East Hampton (non-league), 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 2/3, at Wyandanch (non-league), 4:30 p.m.