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Sports Center

Feb 23, 2009 11:23 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Whalers fall in Port Jefferson

Feb 23, 2009 11:23 AM

Turnovers put an abrupt end to the Pierson boys basketball team’s postseason on Tuesday, February 17 as the Whalers lost 60-40 at Port Jefferson in the opening round of the Suffolk County Class C playoffs.

The Royals started the game by going on a 10-1 run, though the Whalers cut the deficit to eight with 1:23 remaining in the half. But Port Jefferson closed it out by going on a 7-1 run to end the half and kept that momentum going into the second half where it was able to hold a 20-point lead for most of the remainder of the game.

Pierson head coach Christian Johns said the Whalers were able to keep it close until the Royals applied a full-court press midway through the second quarter.

“They pressed us right before halftime,” he said. “That really hurt us.”

In Class C, the road to the finals goes through Port Jefferson. This is the second season in a row the Whalers have lost to the Royals in the opening round of the playoffs. Johns said he did not mention last season’s loss to his team before the game and instead just focused on the game plan.

“I told them we want to force them to play five-on-five half-court defense, keep them out of transition and play extremely tough team defense, and I thought we did that at points throughout the game,” he said.

Ryan Miller led Pierson with nine points, while Luke Kirrane and Casey Crowley each scored eight.

Johns said that Port Jefferson showed why it is the top seed in the Class C bracket. The Royals have one of the county’s best shooters in John Nielsen. He scored 15 points against Pierson, but he was not alone. Sam Davis scored 17 points, while Terell Rose scored a game-high 19 points with nine of those coming in the second half.

One of the problems facing Pierson was that Port Jefferson had eight players on the bench. The Whalers had just two potential substitutes. While Johns agreed that depth played a vital role in the game, he said he didn’t want to make excuses for his team’s loss.

“I think our seven guys did the best job they could have done,” he said.

The Whalers were hit hard by a coaching change late in the season when Fred Marienfeld was fired, but they pulled together to make the playoffs. While Johns said he has not given any thought to next season and whether or not he would like to return, he said he enjoyed his time as head coach this season.

“From the time I had them they did everything I asked of them in practice and in the games,” he said. “I told them after the game that I really appreciated working with them and I was proud of what they did while I was their coach.”

While the Whalers will lose Miller and Crowley to graduation in the spring, they will still have a good core of players returning next season in Luke Kirrane, Joe Dowling, Tyler Gillbride, Jake Weingartner and Dylan Hmielenski.

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Who are the parents going to chose for coach next year?
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Feb 18, 09 5:38 PM
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