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Feb 16, 2009 12:09 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pierson makes playoffs with win in final game

Feb 16, 2009 12:09 PM

The Pierson Whalers slipped into the Class C playoffs with a 52-31 home win over 0-14 Smithtown Christian in the last game of the regular season on February 11.

There was little question that the Whalers, now 7-7 in League VIII and 8-10 overall, would defeat Smithtown, but both sides were less than dazzling in a low-scoring first quarter.

The Crusaders were unable to score a basket in the first period, but the Whalers did little to capitalize on their ineptitude, scoring only six points themselves. Pierson seemed to find its stride in the second quarter as it moved out to a 27-6 halftime lead to essentially secure the win and a place in the postseason.

Even with only two substitutes on the bench, Smithtown was able to hold Pierson to a 21-point advantage through the final buzzer, but the Crusaders were unable to close the gap. The two teams each scored 14 points in the third quarter and 11 points in the fourth.

Junior forward Joe Dowling led Pierson with 19 points and 14 rebounds, followed by senior Ryan Miller with 13 points and four steals. Senior Casey Crowley, who has been leading the team in recent games, joined Luke Kirrane in finishing with five points.

Crowley was off his game against Smithtown, but he still leads the Whalers with 181 total points this season. Dowling follows close behind him with 176 points.

“We got off to a slow start,” Pierson head coach Christian Johns acknowledged.

Despite Smithtown’s dismal record, Johns said the Whalers went in ready to play. “I told them that the Smithtown game was going to be tough,” he said. “They played us hard the whole game.”

Johns attributed the big second period lead to improved rebounding. “I thought Ryan Miller had a nice game,” he added, giving credit to the senior player. “He did a nice job.”

Miller and Crowley were honored before the game for Pierson’s senior night.

The Whalers were scheduled to play defending county champion Port Jefferson in the Class C semifinals in Port Jefferson at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The Royals finished the League VII season in second place with 10-4 in the league and 13-6 overall.

“It’s going to be tough,” Johns said of his team’s chances against Port Jefferson. “They shoot the ball well.”

The Royals’ top scorer John Nielsen logged 423 points this season alone. “We need to go there and try the best team defense we can play,” Johns said.

To add insult to injury, several Pierson players were under the weather over the weekend. Johns said he had to call off practice on Sunday in order to get his players rested for the challenge ahead.

The winner of the Port Jefferson game will either face Stony Brook, which is 11-3, or Mercy, which has a 9-5 record, depending on which team prevails when they meet in their bracket. Pierson lost twice to Mercy this season, by a 56-28 margin at Mercy on January 6 and 59-44 at home on January 30. Stony Brook beat the Whalers 48-39 in Stony Brook on February 9 and 50-29 in Sag Harbor on January 14.

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Hope the girls make the playoffs also
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Feb 17, 09 2:55 PM
The girls made the playoffs over a week ago, but they lost 46-33 against Southold tonight, 02/17. I wrote an article about the game this evening and it should be posted shortly. In the meantime, look for last week's story.

By Oliver Peterson (19), Southampton Press on Feb 17, 09 9:08 PM
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