By Gavin Menu
For a few short moments as the Pierson boys basketball team shot the lights out at Greenport High School on Thursday afternoon, it felt like upset was in the air as the Suffolk County Class C playoffs began with a semifinal game between the Whalers and top-ranked Porters.
Pierson, the four-seed, drained nine three-pointers in the first half, four by senior Spencer Chase, and led the league-champion Porters, 37-34, at halftime.
But the Porters have been explosive all season, and Thursday proved no different. Led by freshman guard Ahkee Anderson, Greenport began the third quarter with a 17-0 run that all but put the game away as the Porters cruised to an 83-60 victory that brought an end to the careers of five Pierson seniors.
“I could not have been luckier to work with the kids I worked with this year, especially the seniors,” Pierson’s first-year head coach, Hank Katz, said afterwards. “I could not have asked for a better group.”
Sean Sloane, who has been on varsity since his freshman year, will graduate this spring along with Chase, Angelo Toscano, Jack Brown and Aidan Crowley, who entered the game late and knocked down a 15-foot jumper to provide a nice moment for the Whalers in the waning minutes.
Otherwise, the game was a blur of purple and white and Greenport (16-5) now will face perennial Class C champ Stony Brook, which knocked off Port Jefferson on Thursday, in the county final this Sunday, February 19, at Suffolk Community College in Selden.
“They’re a really, really good team,” Katz said about Greenport, which also beat Pierson this year in two previous meetings during the regular season. “That third quarter they just came out too strong for us.”
Anderson had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Greenport and Jordan Fonseca had 21 points. Sloane and junior Will Martin, who had a tremendous season and will return to lead the Whalers next season, finished with 20 points apiece. Chase finished with 12 points, all in the first half.
“I thought we could keep that pace up, and I thought wrong,” Katz said about his team’s transition from the first half to the third quarter, which Greenport dominated by a score of 34-11. “We don’t have anybody with any great size in the middle so that’s been our thing all year was to shoot. We live and die by it.”