After two important wins last week, the Pierson boys basketball team maintained its standing in second place behind Stony Brook in League VIII, and looks headed to earning the number two seed in the upcoming Suffolk County Class C playoffs.
The Whalers improved to 11-2 in league, 11-4 overall with a 62-47 home win over Shelter Island on Friday and a 58-43 win at Southold on January 28.
Pierson got off to a slow start against Shelter Island (7-6 in league), falling behind 17-14 after the first quarter, but the Whalers pulled it together, had a slim lead at halftime, and then took control of the game by outscoring the Indians 15-2 in the third quarter.
“We were very poor defensively in the first half,” Pierson head coach Dan White said. “We had a difficult time defending [leading scorer Tristen Wisseman]. We were not showing on screens and our communication was lacking. Giving them two in the third quarter was obviously a major improvement and is something we can build on.”
Wisseman finished with 22 points to lead Shelter Island, while senior guard Forrest Loesch led Pierson with 23 points, hitting five three-pointers. Forward Robbie Evjen had a career-high 17 points for Pierson, along with 12 rebounds. Point guard Ian Barrett added 18 points and five assists.
“I felt like our offense was efficient for the first three quarters and it was good to see Robbie have a career high of 17 points,” White said. “Robbie has been playing his best ball of the year the last three games.”
By beating Southold, Pierson was able to avenge a loss to the Settlers from earlier in the season. Pierson played without starting point guard Barrett in that first contest, as Barrett was out with a broken nose. His presence in this game made a difference, according to White. The Whalers went on a 7-2 run to end the first half, which gave them a nine-point lead at halftime. They mimicked that performance in the third quarter, ending the period on an 8-2 run to extend their lead to 44-32 going into the fourth.
Barrett finished with 18 points and six assists to lead Pierson, while Loesch also had 18 points. Evjen added 14 points and 12 rebounds.
White also gave credit to Drew Harvey, who he said did a great job defending against Southold’s leading scorer Liam Walker.
Pierson is likely to face Southold once more, in Sag Harbor, as the Whalers are expected to earn the number two seed in the Class C bracket and Southold will likely be the third seed. Stony Brook will win the league title and be the first seed, provided it does not lose any of its final games, which is not expected to happen. Pierson is the only team that beat the Bears (11-1, 12-1) this season.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 2/4, at Greenport, 5:45 p.m.; Thursday, 2/6, vs. Knox, 6:15 p.m.; Friday, 2/7, at Ross, 6:15 p.m.