Senior star power was on full display Saturday afternoon at Pierson High School, where the Whalers’ boys basketball team dismantled visiting Babylon, 68-33, in a surprisingly lopsided result over a traditionally strong Class B opponent.
Henry Brooks led the Whalers with 24 points, while his fellow senior guard, Nick Egbert, tormented Babylon on the defensive end all game. Peter Schaefer, also a senior, played well on both sides of the floor and finished with 10 points as Pierson improved to 3-2 on the season.
“If they keep playing with the same type of intensity and grit, every game can be like this,” Pierson head coach Will Fujita said.
The Whalers faced Hampton Bays on Tuesday night and will play in the Anthony Partlato “Help Someone Today” Memorial Classic at Center Moriches High School on December 27, facing the host team and its coach, former Bridgehampton Killer Bee Nick Thomas, that Friday night at 6 p.m.
Sachem North and Bayport-Blue Point will also compete in the tournament, with the winners squaring off on December 28 in the championship game at 6 p.m., and the losers playing a consolation game earlier that afternoon.
Saturday’s triumph over Babylon was Pierson’s second straight win following a 70-50 victory over Shelter Island on Friday night. That game belonged to a younger and rapidly rising star in sophomore Wilson Bennett, who scored 26 points to set the tone all night. Brooks scored 15 of his 17 points in the first quarter as the Whalers pulled out to a 14-point halftime lead.
The game with Babylon was close early as the Whalers held just a seven-point lead at the half. They opened the third quarter on a 14-6 run, though, and blew the game wide open with Brooks and Schaefer dominating early in the fourth quarter. Fujita emptied his bench with about 4 minutes remaining in the game.
“It’s the next man up mentality,” Fujita said. “It’s a team sport and just because you don’t show up in the book doesn’t mean you’re not just as important as the guy who is scoring 24 points.”
That said, Fujita said Brooks is capable of putting up big scoring numbers on any given night. But rather than always looking to score, the senior captain has bought into a team-first approach, one of the reasons for Pierson’s early success.
“Henry does his job well and I like what he brings,” Fujita said. “He hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard as much as he’s capable of and that’s a testament to his being a leader and his moving off the ball, which creates a lot of opportunities for other people. His motion alone defenses are very fixated on.”
In the end, nine different players scored for Pierson against Babylon, with Brooks and Bennett (11 points) scoring in double figures and Cecil Munchin and Hudson Brindle coming off the bench to score five points apiece.
“We’re doing a good job of staying healthy and we’re doing a good job of pushing each other at practice,” Fujita said. “It’s a long season, and you have to expect a lot of different things are going to happen.”
Girls Knock Off Hampton Bays, Fall to Port Jefferson
The Pierson/Bridgehampton girls basketball team led Port Jefferson by a point at halftime on Tuesday night before the wheels came off in a 21-3 third quarter that allowed the top Class B team in Suffolk County to pull away with a 58-47 win over the visiting Lady Whalers.
Senior guard Chastin Giles had 14 points to lead Pierson in the game and scored 24 points in a 56-39 win over Hampton Bays on December 11. As of Tuesday, the Lady Whalers were 2-4 overall with the meat of the League VII schedule still ahead of them.
Port Jefferson (5-2) was led on Tuesday by Brooke Zamek and Samantha Ayotte, who combined for 29 points in the game. The bulk of the damage was done in the decisive third quarter, which the Lady Whalers followed with an 18-12 fourth quarter as they tried to claw their way back into the game.
Sofia Mancino was the only other player in double figures for Pierson, finishing with 11 points. Gylia Dryden scored six points and Grace Perello had five.
Pierson played at Babylon on Wednesday after press time and will host Southampton on Saturday at noon before taking an extended holiday break. The team returns to action in the New Year with a game at Smithtown Christian on January 6.