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Mar 7, 2012 5:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Pierson Whalers Fall To East Rockaway In Long Island Class C Championship

Mar 7, 2012 9:38 AM

The Pierson boys basketball team’s dream season came to a crashing halt on Tuesday night in the Long Island Class C Championship game at Farmingdale State College.

Playing without their floor leader, sophomore point guard Ian Barrett, who had suffered a broken ankle just a few days earlier, the Whalers had no answer for Nassau County champ East Rockaway, and fell 63-29.

The Whalers got off to a good start, leading 10-8 with three minutes left in the first quarter, but at that point, the Rocks went on a 24-0 run that gave them a 32-10 lead with less than four minutes remaining until halftime. A three-pointer by Joey Butts stopped the scoreless streak, but Pierson never got into a rhythm on offense and the Rocks continued to pour it on to run away with the win.

After the game, Pierson head coach Dan White—who led the Whalers to their first Suffolk County title since 1994 in just his second season—admitted that playing without Barrett created a big problem for his squad.

“We don’t have any real playmakers besides him,” he said, explaining that Barrett is the team’s best ballhandler and penetrator, two aspects of Pierson’s game that were sorely missing on Tuesday night. East Rockaway began using a full-court press late in the first quarter, and that gave the Whalers trouble as well, causing them to turn the ball over.

Even with Barrett, beating East Rockaway may have been a tall order. The Rocks are a senior-laden team, one that certainly looked intent on extending its season. The Whalers, meanwhile, have only three seniors on their roster, only one of whom—Sam Miller—sees significant minutes.

“They were more physical than us,” White said of East Rockaway. “They had a solid group of seniors. We tend to show our youth when things go south.”

Butts led Pierson with 10 points and was the only player in double figures for his team.

Despite the lopsided loss, the Whalers and White can still walk away from the season with their heads held high. They claimed the program’s first county championship since 1994, thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Loesch in the win over Stony Brook, and the future is bright. Miller is the only senior who will be lost to graduation, while Barrett returns along with Butts and guard Jackson Marienfeld for a strong backcourt, while Pat Sloane, Loesch and Jake Bennett will anchor the frontcourt.

White has been happy with the progression of his players, particularly because they found a way to win with a balanced offensive attack and, more important, played tough defense. He’s proud of what they accomplished and excited for what they can do next season.

“They definitely overachieved and exceeded my expectations,” he said. “We beat Stony Brook twice, we beat a solid Port Jeff team, and we won the C/D title. We did well.”

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Kudos to a great season for the Pierson Boys Basketball team!! You should all hold your heads high and be proud of your championship title!! Nice job!!
By WhalerFanForLife (13), Southampton on Mar 7, 12 11:11 AM