On this day eight years ago, the boys’ basketball team won a second consecutive Suffolk County Championship, 62-36, over rival Pierson. Asaiah Wilson scored all 18 of his points from 3-point land, Bryce Jackson, a senior first-year player, came off the bench to score 12 points, grab 8 rebounds, and reject 4 shots, and Brandon Odom had 9 points, 8 assists, and 2 steals while holding Pierson’s Forrest Loesch to just six points.
Here are recaps of the game from Newsday, the East Hampton Press, and the Sag Harbor Express.
Stony Brook Beats Pierson for Suffolk Class C Crown
Bob Herzog — Newsday
On the game’s first possession, Asaiah Wilson sank a long three-pointer. Moments later, Andrew Daniel converted a short-range conventional three-point play. A tone was set. The suspense was over early.
The Stony Brook School, seeded No. 1, scored 10 straight points in the first quarter, went on a 9-0 run in the second quarter and supplemented those offensive bursts with smothering defense to down No. 2 Pierson, 62-36, Saturday and win its second consecutive Suffolk C title and third in the last five years.
“We have some program momentum,” coach Mike Hickey said of the Bears, who advance to the Suffolk C-D game against Shelter Island on Wednesday and also move on to a state regional semifinal against Friends Academy on March 4 at Farmingdale State.
They also have a varied offense. Wilson, a guard, led the way with five three-pointers and 18 points, forward Bryce Jackson came off the bench to score 12 points and center Andrew Daniel added nine points and a flurry of blocked or altered shots. “We have inside and outside weapons,” Hickey said.
They also harassed Pierson’s high-scoring Forrest Loesch, limiting him to six points, 15 below his season’s scoring average. The Whalers, who handed Stony Brook (17-1) its only loss on December 18, when Loesch scored 36, finished 13-6.
“I thought they were vulnerable to a switching zone,” Hickey said of his defensive strategy that worked to perfection. “We understand our system a lot better than we did in December.”
Stony Brook defeated Friends Academy for the Long Island Class C title last year, but fell to Pine Plains in the regional final. “This year, our goal is to make it to the Final Four,” Hickey said, referring to the state semifinals and finals at Glens Falls.
For that, the suspense is building.
Whalers No Match for Stony Brook in County C Final
Cailin Riley — East Hampton Press
From the opening minutes of the game, it was clear which was the better of the two teams.
Stony Brook had no problem securing its second straight Suffolk County Class C title, the third in five years for the school, with a convincing 62-36 victory over second seed Pierson on February 15 at Longwood High School. Stony Brook won the League VIII title with a 15-1 record, followed by Pierson at 13-3 during the regular season.
The Bears and Whalers were the only two Class C teams to qualify for the playoffs, earning automatic bids in the county final. Pierson was the only team to beat Stony Brook during league play, downing the Bears, 66-58, on December 18. A win that may have been a fluke based on the next two meetings, including January 24 during the regular season when Stony Brook won by 22 with the Bears holding the Whalers to their lowest total on offense for the season, 34, and then the county final, during which Stony Brook won by nearly 30.
“They’re a different team from early December than they are now,” Pierson coach Dan White said. “They’re a private school so they don’t practice as much early in the season and we took advantage of some things early in the season with them not being prepared. We can’t afford to have an off game against them.”
And having an off game is just what happened for the Whalers, who were outplayed in every aspect of the game—outhustled, outrebounded, outshot. “They are better in every spot and they have more talent but I thought if we did things the right way as a team, we may be able to pull it off,” White said.
Stony Brook won the opening tip and Asaiah Wilson drained a three-pointer less than 10 seconds into the game, a sequence that would be indicative of how the rest of the day would go. The Bears built a 15-2 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter before Ian Barrett scored at the buzzer to make it 15-4 with one quarter gone. It was much of the same in the second quarter with Stony Brook building on its lead to take a 36-12 lead into the locker room. After the break, Pierson appeared to play more cohesively and efficiently but was unable to overcome the halftime deficit and ended up losing by almost the same margin in the score as it was at half.
“I knew we needed to get off to a good start and I knew if we did get off to a good start we might be able to make something happen,” White said. “We played well in the second half but you can’t score four points in the first quarter and expect to win.”
Stony Brook Too Strong for Pierson in Class C Final
Gavin Menu — Sag Harbor Express
Ultimately, the Stony Brook boys’ basketball team had too much of everything for the Whalers to contend. Too much size. Too much speed. Too much depth. Too much talent.
As a result, the Bears cruised to the Suffolk County Class C Championship at Longwood High School on Saturday afternoon with a convincing 63-36 win over Pierson.
The Bears will advance in both the Section XI tournament and the New York State Class C bracket, where they will play for a Long Island title on March 4, most likely against Friends Academy. Pierson’s season came to an end with a 13-6 overall record.
Saturday’s game was never close as Stony Brook’s supremely talented starting five outmatched Pierson from the opening tip, turning a 15-4 first-quarter lead into an insurmountable 36-12 advantage at halftime.
Pierson head coach Dan White could not mask his disappointment during the moments following the game.
“It’s getting old,” White said after the loss, which was essentially a repeat from a season ago. “They’re better than us and we don’t have the luxury of a bad quarter.”
The Whalers played admirably in the second half, but the result was never in doubt. Senior point guard Ian Barrett, who finished with a team-high 19 points, led Pierson during the third quarter, where the Whalers outscored Stony Brook, 16-13.
Forrest Loesch, Pierson’s senior leader who was a scoring machine this season, closed out his Whalers career with just six points, well below his season average. Robbie Evjen, with eight points, and Cooper Marienfeld, with three, were the only other Whalers to score against the stingy Stony Brook defense.
Bears coach Mike Hickey said afterwards that his strategy was to disrupt the Pierson offense early and often.
“They have great shooters and they run things well, so defensively it was switching and being aggressive,” Hickey said. “Typically the most aggressive team wins.”
And the Bears on Saturday were too aggressive for Pierson, or perhaps any other Class C team in the state this year, to contend.
Asaiah Wilson was named the tournament MVP while Andrew Daniel, Bryce Jackson, and Brandon Odom were named to the All-Tournament Team. The Bears would go on to win the next three County Championships, two more coming at Pierson’s expense, to win a Class C record five straight titles and establish themselves as a small school dynasty.