On this day 226 years ago, the Second Session of Congress declared Sag Harbor the first official port upon entering United States waters. This meant that before international ships could continue on toward New York City, they were required to make anchorage in Sag Harbor and be inspected by the town’s customs house. So naturally, to celebrate this marginal footnote in American history, we’ve decided to count down our greatest wins over Pierson.
Normally, we count down our top ten wins against an opponent (as the name of this article indicates), but Pierson has arguably been our greatest rival since we entered the public school league in 1973. The Whalers have been worthy adversaries for decades, and it became readily obvious that even a top twenty list would be difficult to narrow down. So instead, here are the top thirty victories over Pierson.
Note: The basketball programs may appear over-represented here. Pierson does not field their own football, swimming, track, lacrosse, or wrestling teams and we do not compete against them in tennis or golf due to geographical restrictions in those leagues.
Ten Thirty Wins vs. Pierson
#30 | Brothers Outduel Brothers | February 3, 1998
The boys’ basketball team swept the season series with the Whalers in a thriller in Swanson Gymnasium. After a high-scoring opening quarter, the Bears led 21-18, then continued to build their lead to carry a six-point advantage into the half. The Whalers clawed back into the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Brook by two to head into the fourth down by just four. The Bears methodically extended their lead to 51-42 with 3:53 remaining, but the relentless Whalers refused to go quietly. Travis Graves connected on a 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining to spur an 8-0 run that brought Pierson to within a point with 1:21 left. With 1:00 remaining, Daren Brown scored his only basket of the game to put the Bears up 53-50. Terrance Graves scored at the 00:22 mark to bring Pierson back within a point, but a huge steal by Dave Marvin on the final possession sealed the win. Jon Marvin led all scorers with 17, including three 3-pointers, and Dave Marvin added 11 points. The Marvin brothers outscored the Graves brothers 28-21. Here is how I recorded the outcome, back when I was in sixth grade:
Today we played Pierson. It was a very close game. We won 53-51. David Marvin knocked the ball away with four seconds left and Daren Brown picked it up to end it.
#29 | Kayonga’s Magic Trick | January 6, 2015
Trailing by seven entering the fourth quarter, the Whalers’ patented grit got them within a basket, 54-57, with 4:25 remaining. It was then that Chester Kayonga made, in the words of coach Mike Hickey, “the greatest high school pass I’ve ever seen.” Kayonga had the ball on the block as Robbie Colarusso cut through the lane. Colarusso was open, but Kayonga missed the opportunity. Undaunted, Kayonga bent over and rolled the ball between both his and his defender’s legs, right to Colarusso for a reverse layup that proved to be a huge basket. The game was far from over, but the surreal play helped the Bears hold off their fierce rival for a 68-65 win in Sag Harbor. The Brook connected on ten 3-pointers including four from Luke Meyer.
#28 | Colucci Enters Record Book | May 6, 2010
In an otherwise unremarkable 119.5-12.5 win for the boys’ track team, Taylor Colucci entered the record books with a time of 10.9 in the 100 meters, tying the 33-year-old school record held by Kevin Lockerbie ’77 and Matt Mattimore ’95. He followed that milestone with a 22.5 in the 200 meters, leaving him just .02 away from tying the school record, before closing the meet with a strong leg as the anchor of the winning 4×100 meter relay team.
#27 | Comeback Win for Baseball | May 4, 1982
The Shrikes trailed the Whalers, 5-7, entering the top of the 7th. With just three outs left to work with, the Brook mounted a comeback. Ron Mentus drew a one-out walk, then George Munson followed with a triple to cut the deficit to 6-7. Jim Treichler tied the game with a single, stole second base and then scampered home with the eventual game-winning run thanks to two Whalers errors. Pierson was retired in order in the bottom half of the inning to preserve the 8-7 win.
#26 | Dunleavy Scorches Whalers… Twice | January 6 & January 31, 2006
On January 6, in a 56-29 win for the girls’ basketball team, Kristyn Dunleavy poured in a school record 39 points. She caught fire early, netting 21 in the first half as the Bears took a 31-13 edge into the half. She finished 13-for-15 from the free throw line and completed a double-double with 12 rebounds. Less than a month later, the Whalers experienced a harrowing deja vu when the junior scorched them again for 39 points in a 62-40 loss, dropping Pierson to 7-3 on the season.
#25 | Softball Wins Slugfest | April 25, 1977
The Shrikes burst out of the gates against the Whalers, holding a 10-2 lead through five and a half innings. Pierson struck back in the bottom of the 6th with seven runs to close within a run of the Brook with an inning to play. The Blue and White responded with four runs in the 7th, despite not registering a hit, to push their edge back to five runs. Pierson mustered four runs in their final frame, but the Shrikes did just enough to hold them off in a wild 14-13 win.
#24 | Matimore & Marvin Swamp Whalers | February 7, 1995
The boys’ basketball team avenged a three-point loss in Sag Harbor on Jan. 13 with a 64-62 thriller in Swanson Gymnasium. The Bears’ offense sputtered out of the gates, mustering just eight points to the Whalers’ 15, but exploded for 34 points in the second frame as Robbie Marvin and Matt Mattimore caught fire. Mattimore was unconscious during the eight-minute span with 16 points while Marvin added 11 as they vaulted the Brook into a 42-30 lead at the half. The Whalers mounted a comeback in the third, outscoring the Bears by five, then tied the game at 60-60 with 2:55 remaining. Marvin scored a clutch basket at the 1:52 mark, then Mattimore followed with two free throws with 00:50 remaining to regain control for the Brook. Pierson added two free throws of their own with 00:37 left, but it was as close as they would get. Mattimore led all scorers with 31 points while Marvin added 14.
#23 | Shrikes Hang On | February 13, 1981
The boys’ basketball team avenged an early season loss to Pierson by hanging onto the lead during a furious fourth quarter to emerge with a 62-61 win. The Shrikes jumped out to a 16-10 lead after the first quarter and carried a five-point edge into halftime. After an even 14-14 third frame, the game headed to the fourth. The game looked to be in hand for the Blue and White when Jim Santiago scored to put the Brook ahead 62-52 with 2:04 remaining, but the Whalers reeled off nine consecutive points to pull within a point with 00:15 left. Despite the frenetic comeback, the Brook was able to hold on for the win.
#22 | Lavery’s Heroics Sink Whalers | October 22, 2013
With the game knotted at 0-0 in the 75th minute, the girls’ soccer team needed a hero to step up. Sophomore Emma Lavery answered the call and struck the eventual game-winner, thanks to an assist from Emily Pius, in a 1-0 win for the Brook.
#21 | Baseball Wins Wild One | April 9, 1990
After five innings, the baseball team found themselves down 7-3 in Sag Harbor. With just six outs left, the Bears scored eight runs in the top of the 6th with the help of an error, three walks, and six hits. Suddenly down 7-11, the Whalers struck back for five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to retake a 12-11 edge. The momentum swings continued as the Bears notched two runs in the 7th behind an RBI single from James Lecci and a sacrifice fly by Phil Leek. Now holding a 13-12 lead, the Bears only had to hold on for three more outs. Things looked in control after they retired the first two batters, but a single, a stolen base, and another single knotted the score and sent the game into extra innings. In the 8th, Jonathan Schwartz reached base on an error with one out. Brian Madden followed with a single, one of his four hits on the day, and both runners advanced on a stolen base. Tim Grimes followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Schwartz to give the Brook the lead for good, 14-13.
#20 | Bears Clinch Top Seed | February 4, 2015
In a thrilling comeback that clinched the #1 seed in the County playoffs, the boys’ basketball team edged Pierson, 43-42. In front of a rowdy Blue Fan Group that turned Swanson Gymnasium into a mini Cameron Indoor Stadium, the boys overcame a sluggish start to take a 32-30 lead heading into the fourth. In a back-and-forth final frame, the Bears found themselves down by one with under two minutes to play, but Chester Kayonga’s mid-range jumper gave the Brook a 43-42 lead back with 1:28 remaining. They would prove to be the Bears’ final points of the night with three possessions still coming for the Whalers. On the first, Pierson misfired on two free throws, saw a 3-pointer go halfway down and then pop out on the second and, after the Bears gave them one final chance on a botched in-bounds play, had the ball stolen with 1.9 seconds remaining to bring the collective blood pressure back down.
#19 | Storch Comes Through Late | September 29, 2004
With 7:10 remaining in a 0-0 game, Russell Storch’s goal propelled the boys’ soccer team to a 1-0 victory over their league rivals. It was the fourth time in their last five match-ups with Pierson that the boys claimed a one-goal victory.
#18 | Bears Win Rematch | January 15, 2013
In the rematch of a heart-breaking loss for the Bears in the previous year’s County Final, the boys’ basketball team won a thriller in Swanson, 51-50. The Brook jumped out to a 24-14 lead in the first quarter, but the Whalers cut their deficit to five by halftime, then three by the end of the third. Clinging to a two-point lead with just 00:05 remaining, Andrew Daniel sank two huge free throws, ensuring the Whalers’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer was inconsequential. The Bears improved to 6-0 on the way to a second straight League Championship.
#17 | Spooner is Clutch | January 22, 1994
The boys’ basketball team improved to 5-1, on the way to a second consecutive League Championship, with a 65-63 victory that avenged their only loss of the season to that point. Things did not look good for the Bears, though, as they fell behind by 10 with just 6:41 left in the game. With their feet to the fire, the Blue and White went on a 12-2 run, during which Nkumu Mandungu scored seven, to knot the game at 60-60 with 2:42 left. A score by the Whalers gave them the lead back, but a free throw by Matt Mattimore and two more free throws by Jimmy Roban gave the Brook a 63-62 advantage with one minute remaining. The Whalers tied the score with a free throw at the 00:23 mark, leaving the Bears with a final possession to win the game. The hero proved to be reserve player Matt Spooner, who with 00:09 remaining sank two free throws to provide the winning margin in a huge victory for the Brook.
#16 | Overtime Thriller | September 22, 2004
The boys’ soccer team took a 1-0 advantage into halftime thanks to a goal by Jon Anderson less than five minutes into the match. Pierson wrested control away with two goals in a three-minute span to take a 2-1 edge with 28 minutes remaining. With just 5:50 left, Leon DeLalio knotted the game at 2-2, sending the game into extra time. In the overtime period, Sam Lee played the hero for the Brook, scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 victory.
#15 | Bears Hold onto 1st Place in OT Win | February 8, 2013
After taking a nine-point lead early in the game, the girls’ basketball team found themselves down by two with 00:12 left. Keara Vancol’s two clutch free throws forced overtime, then Allie Damianos connected on two of her own from the charity stripe with 00:35 left in overtime to help the Brook emerge victoriously, 35-32. With the win, the Bears (11-1) held onto first place in League VIII on their way to a League Championship.
#14 | DeLalio Strikes Again | September 29, 2003
After 80 scoreless minutes, the boys’ soccer team was locked in a scoreless draw with Pierson. With just 2:21 left in the second overtime, Leon DeLalio blasted a strike just under the crossbar to provide the winning margin. Dan Anderson recorded his fourth clean sheet in goal with 10 saves.
#13 | Shi & Scavo Steal One | September 27, 2012
Trailing 0-1 with just 24 seconds left, Julia Shi tied the game for the girls’ soccer team to send it into overtime. Then, just two minutes into the extra period, Gianna Scavo struck the game-winner to give the Brook a 2-1 victory over their league rivals. All-State keeper Mikaela Stiklickas shone in goal, recording 17 saves for the Brook.
#12 | Bears Clinch League Title | February 8, 2011
Avenging their only loss of the season, the girls’ basketball team topped the Whalers, 40-28, in Sag Harbor to earn at least a share of the League VIII Championship. Behind Brannon Burke’s shooting and a stingy defense, the Bears built a 23-13 halftime lead on the way to clinching a seventh consecutive League Title. Burke finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds while Natalie Istrati grabbed 21 rebounds and chipped in 6 points. They would go on to win the outright title one week later in an overtime victory over Southold.
#11 | Cross Country Edges Rival | September 23, 2008
In as narrow a victory as you can have in a cross country meet, the girls’ nipped the Whalers 28-29, a key win that eventually led to a second consecutive League Championship. Alexis Fernandez won the race for the Bears, covering the 2.6-mile course at Indian Island in 17:13.
#10 | Witteman Walks Off | May 23, 1980
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Erick Witteman hit a walk-off, pinch hit home run to give the Brook a 3-2 victory over Pierson and complete a double-header sweep.
#9 | Volleyball Spikes Whalers | November 4, 2009
Though the volleyball team had easily dismantled Pierson during the regular season, it was apparent early that the Whalers were ready for a fight. In a Class D semifinal match-up the #2 Bears and #3 Whalers locked horns in a memorable match. A packed Swanson Gymnasium urged the girls on and, in a pivotal fourth set, the girls fought back from a sizable deficit to win the match, sending the volleyball team to its first County Championship. Whenever the Bears needed a crucial point, Shelby Green seemed to step up with a clutch serve or Linnea Peckham with a critical spike. Christine Boss and Natalie Istrati were a formidable presence in the middle, blocking the Pierson attack and finishing much needed points. The defense was anchored by Jess Winston, Emily Stone, and libero Alex Angove. Pierson’s coach reiterated the importance of the Stony Brook crowd saying, “We were evenly matched and the first and the fourth games could have gone either way. We played well but their crowd carried them at times and that made a difference.”
#8 | Boys Win Playoff | October 24, 2003
A 1-0 overtime victory for the Brook and a 2-1 win for Pierson during the regular season ensured that the playoff rematch had the ingredients for a classic. Scoring proved to be difficult against both defenses during the season, but Mike Juhas bucked that trend when he scored what would prove to be the winning goal just 41 seconds into the match. The Bear defense, anchored by Dan Anderson in goal, would ensure the slim early margin was enough. Anderson recorded his tenth shutout of the season with seven saves.
#7 | Girls’ Basketball Clinches 1st County Title | February 23, 1999
In a 61-30 victory over the Whalers, the girls’ basketball team earned the first County Championship in program history. The Bears were led by Rebecca Fischer who secured a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. The win was an important milestone for a program that would become a dominant force in small school girls’ basketball, winning nine League Championships and seven Suffolk County Championships over the next 14 years. On March 23, the team was honored with a tribute in the United States House of Representatives given by Michael P. Forbes, a Republican from New York’s 1st District.
#6 | Back-to-Back | February 15, 2014
After winning a third consecutive League Championship, coach Mike Hickey’s eighth during his tenure as head coach, the boys looked ahead to the County Championship and a third consecutive match-up with Pierson. The Whalers were hungry to erase the memory of a 57-27 defeat in the 2013 title game, but this year’s contest began on an ominous note for them as Asaiah Wilson drained a deep, falling down 3-pointer, with a hand in his face, on the game’s first possession. That’s all Wilson needed to get going on a night when he would score 18 points, hitting on five 3-pointers. On the next possession Andrew Daniel, Long Island’s leading rebounder for the second consecutive year, converted on an old-fashioned 3-point play to wrest away the momentum and all but silence the large Pierson contingent. The result was a 62-36 blowout for back-to-back County titles and the fourth in program history.
While the Bear offense was in high-gear, it was their defense that snuffed out Pierson’s will mid-way through the game. Pierson’s Forrest Loesch, who had been averaging 21 points per game, was completely taken out of the game by Brandon Odom’s smothering defense. Odom held Loesch to four points in the last regular season match-up and six points in the County final, two of only three times Loesch was held under ten points all season. Daniel was a monumental presence inside and Bryce Jackson came off of the bench to score 12 points on a variety of difficult shots.
#5 | Cross Country Takes Crown | November 1, 2013
The girls’ cross country team earned its fourth County Championship in five years in a 26-38-65 victory over Pierson and Southold. Margot Rashba closed the second-most decorated career in girls’ cross country history with her fourth consecutive individual County Championship. Only Laura Whitney ’82 won more County titles, earning five from 1977-1981 along with four State Championships. Clara Walker (2nd place), Miranda Harrigan (4th), Anna Brummeler (7th), and Elsa Crozier (14th) rounded out the scoring for the Brook.
#4 | Burke Leads Bears to 6th Title | February 22, 2011
In a mostly rosy season for the girls’ basketball team, Pierson was their only thorn. A loss to the Whalers on January 11 ended a string of 23 consecutive regular season league wins and placed a feeling of uncertainty around their League and County title streaks. However, the girls won their next seven games and on February 8 won the rematch, 40-28, in Sag Harbor to clinch their seventh consecutive League Championship. The girls knew their rematch in the County Final would be a battle, but they rode a tremendous performance from Brannon Burke, who led all scorers with 26 points, to a 43-29 victory. The win gave them a sixth straight Class C Championship, the longest streak since Wyandanch claimed eight from 1981-88.
#3 | Sweet Revenge | February 14, 2013
What was supposed to be one of the games to watch in the Suffolk County playoffs, turned into a blowout in the blink of an eye. The boys’ basketball team split their two regular season match-ups with the Whalers and headed into the County Final with revenge on their minds after the previous season’s heart-wrenching loss in the title game. The Blue and White held a tenuous four-point lead at halftime and everyone assembled at Westhampton Beach High School braced for what was sure to be a frenetic second half. Instead, the Whalers went ice cold from the field and the Brook took control in a 15-1 third quarter, despite two starters being sidelined with foul trouble. Up 18 as the fourth quarter began, the Bears continued the onslaught in the fourth, beating the Whalers 16-4 over the final eight minutes for a dominant 57-27 win. The Bears’ greedy defense allowed just five second half points against one of the strongest offensive small school teams in the County. Andrew Daniel was a force inside with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Marco Masakayan added 13 points and 8 assists.
#2 | 3-Peat | February 15, 2015
The boys’ basketball team had plans to hoist a third straight County Championship plaque over their heads, but a 10-2 spurt by the Whalers to start the game put that prospect in doubt. The Bears clawed back to within three points by the end of the quarter, then took a nine-point lead midway through the second after a barrage of 3-pointers stunned the Pierson faithful. The Brook went cold in the third, mustering just three points, and the Whalers went up by as many as six early in the fourth, but the Bears’ vaunted press helped them stay within striking distance. With 2:19 remaining, lefty sharpshooter Luke O’Connor took a pass from Luke Meyer and drilled a three-pointer that turned a 37-38 deficit into a 40-38 lead. On the ensuing possession, Meyer retrieved a Stony Brook miss by leaping out of bounds and, in mid-air, finding Jyles Etienne under the basket for a game-sealing layup with 1:28 remaining. The Blue and White would go on to win 44-39 and claim the fifth County Championship in program history. Robbie Colarusso led the Bears with 17 points, playing through the pain of a torn muscle in his shoulder which he sustained in the second quarter.
#1 | Girls’ Soccer Wins County Thriller | November 1, 2008
After 108 minutes, neither team was able to push a shot across the goal line. As the County Championship moved to a fourth overtime period, Sadie Singer, a defender, finally found the back of the net to lead the girls to a second straight County Title. Danielle Pappas recorded 7 saves in a marathon shutout. The girls would go on to win just the second Regional Championship in school history.