By Gavin Menu
The Pierson boys basketball team’s rocky start to the season smoothed a bit on Monday as the Whalers continued to settle into a new era with Hank Katz at the helm of the program.
The Whalers dropped two games in the SYS Holiday Tournament at Southampton High School over the weekend, falling 87-55 to Center Moriches on Friday before losing the consolation game, 70-52, to The Dalton School from New York City. Southampton beat Center Moriches, 81-69, in the nightcap on Saturday to win the tournament.
Pierson dropped to 0-4 on the season with a 57-54 road loss at Babylon on Monday, but the team and its new head coach came away more hopeful from that game than they did from an otherwise uninspiring performance at the SYS tournament.
“We came with a lot of energy and really played well together,” Katz said about the game against Babylon, traditionally one of the stronger Class B schools in Suffolk County.
Pierson led the game going into the fourth quarter, but let it slip away as Babylon closed with a 16-8 run to win by three points.
“We really got off to a great start, but we couldn’t finish the game,” Katz said. “That’s one thing we need to work on, but I think we’re ready to take off. Our goal is to be successful in league play.”
Pierson’s Will Martin, a junior guard, continued his torrid scoring pace against Babylon with 24 points to lead all scorers, following up a weekend in which he averaged 27 points per game in the holiday tournament. He hit eight three pointers against Dalton and was Pierson’s lone representative on the All-Tournament team.
Spencer Chase, a senior, has also proven to be a sharpshooter so far and scored 15 points against Babylon, all from behind the three-point arc. Sean Sloane, Pierson’s top scoring threat along with Martin, averaged just eight points per game in the tournament, but had 11 against Babylon as the team finally began to click.
“It’s taking a little time to get our system in place and to be on the same page,” Katz admitted. “We try to play fast, but under control, and we try to stay within a system with a certain amount of discipline.”
The Whalers faced Mercy on Wednesday after press time and will host Mattituck on Friday, December 23, at 6:15 p.m. After a week off for the holidays, Pierson will resume play on December 30 with a 2 p.m. game at Shoreham Wading River.