It was a quiet but successful week for both the Pierson boys and girls basketball teams, which each beat Shelter Island in dominant fashion in their only games of the week. Meanwhile, the Bridgehampton Killer Bees also cruised to an easy win in their only action of the week, beating Smithtown Christian. The Bridgies improved to 2-2 in League VIII, 3-4 overall, while the Pierson boys team stayed undefeated atop the League VIII standings with a 4-0 mark, 4-4 overall. The Lady Whalers improved to 3-1 in League VIII, 5-5 overall.
Loesch And Bennett Lead Pierson
The offense of Forest Loesch and defense of Jake Bennett led Pierson to a 52-38 win at Shelter Island on January 4. Loesch scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, while Bennett locked down Shelter Island’s leading scorer Matt Belt-Cappollino, holding him to nine points. The Whalers held only a 29-23 lead at halftime, but outscored the Indians, 13-6, in the third quarter to get some distance. They held as much as a 20-point lead with five minutes left in the game.
Head coach Dan White said that Bennett’s play on defense this year has been key for his team.
“He put him on the other team’s toughest player and he takes care of it,” White said. “He’s quick, physical and smart and he doesn’t foul, so that’s huge for us.”
Bennett also finished with 10 points, while Pat Sloane added nine points and 10 rebounds and Joey Butts had seven points. Pierson is still playing without starting point guard Ian Barrett, who is out with a sprained MCL. White didn’t expect him to be back any earlier than the end of January.
Evjen Powers Lady Whalers
Pierson guard May Evjen has earned a spot in the starting lineup largely based on her defensive prowess, but she led Pierson in scoring with 12 points in a 42-18 romp at home over Shelter Island on January 4. The Lady Whalers got off to a slow start, leading only 8-6 after the first quarter, but they outscored the Lady Indians, 11-0, in the second quarter, and head coach Kevin Barron was able to go to his bench often in the second half as his team pulled away. Evjen’s performance was key considering the Lady Whalers were missing usual starting guard Sydnee McKie-Senior, who was out with an ankle injury. Evjen, a junior, stepped up in her absence, not only providing her usual talent as, Barron calls her, the team’s best defensive player, but also leading the team on offense. She had eight steals to go with her 12 points.
“She’s always been our best defender, but her offense has improved so much and she showed it that night,” Barron said.
Barron said he was happy with his team’s defensive effort throughout the entire game, and said his players were able to dominate once they shook off a sloppy first half on offense, when they missed several open shots.
Balanced Scoring For Bees
The Bridgehampton boys basketball team got a very important win over a fellow Class D opponent on the road on January 3, beating Smithtown Christian, 74-63. Head coach Carl Johnson said his team has struggled with Smithtown Christian in the past, particularly on the road, but he said a more raucous crowd this year actually helped his team. The Killer Bees got off to a good start, leading 18-5 after the first quarter, and they never looked back. Johnson explained that Smithtown Christian typically has a very small number of spectators, and the near quiet in the gym seems to hinder his team, making it tough for them to get into the groove of the game. But more spectators and noise thanks to a homecoming crowd created more of a game-type atmosphere, which Johnson thought helped his team this time around.
“We’ve had our struggles there,” Johnson said, pointing out that his team lost in overtime in Smithtown last year. “It’s far away and they don’t ever seem to have fans there. It didn’t seem like a game, it seemed more like a phys-ed class, so it was hard for the kids to get into the game mentally. But this year they had about 80 people there and it gave us more of a basketball atmosphere.”
It certainly worked for Jason Hopson, Josh Lamison and Tylik Furman, all of whom scored in double digits for Bridgehampton. Hopson led the team with 27 points, seven assists and 12 rebounds, while Furman had 18 and Lamison had 15. Junior Devin Brevard also provided a spark, coming off the bench for nine points. He hit consecutive three-pointers in the first quarter that helped the Bridgies get on a roll.
Johnson said that when his big three—Hopson, Furman and Lamison—are all playing well at the same time, it can be tough for teams to beat them.