It's still early, but the Pierson Whalers and Southampton Mariners lead a strong contingent of local boys basketball teams looking to secure postseason berths.
Pierson knocked off Bridgehampton at home 58-44 to secure its spot atop the League VIII perch with a perfect 6-0 mark. Forrest Loesch was on fire throughout and finished with 25 points and recorded five assists. Jackson Marienfeld (11) and Jake Bennett (10) also hit double digits for the winners, who ran their overall mark to 9-1. Tyleke Furman and Jason Hopson each tallied 14 for the losers. Pierson travels down Route 114 Friday to take on Ross School in a 6:15 PM tiff and gets Smithtown Christian at home Tuesday evening.
Bridgehampton has had a frustrating season. Not only are the Bees wanting for players, but the school's stringent eligibility policy further saps its strength. It all came to a head January 8 when the Bees were forced to forfeit a critical game against Shelter Island because two players were suspended for failing quizzes. The Bees (2-4, 3-6) and Shelter Island are both Class D teams, two of the four on Long Island. The loss could well cost Bridgehampton a spot in the state tourney. The Indians (4-2 4-5) and Greenport (4-2, 6-4) are the other local League VIII teams in the playoff picture.
Southampton has proved the class of League VII thus far, as the Mariners are off to a 6-0 league mark and are 9-1 overall. Southampton swamped Hampton Bays 73-47 on the losers' court Thursday. Shaundelle Fishburne was one of 10 Mariners to score -- he led the team with 14 points. Scott Rica had 13, Natauke Williams 11 and Lyle Smith added 10. Harry Fotopoulos had 19 for the Baymen, who are 1-4 in the league and 1-7 on the season. Fotopoulos dropped in 10 more the following night but Hampton Bays lost a home encounter against Port Jefferson 38-30.
Center Moriches will travel to Southampton Friday night for a 7 PM affair against the Mariners. The locals travel to Port Jefferson Tuesday.
East Hampton is in a three-way tie for second in League VI with a 3-2 mark despite losing to Amityville 73-57 Friday. Bonac played Blue Point/Bayport yesterday and gets Mount Sinai at home tomorrow in a 6:15 PM fray.
Riverhead is 6-0 in League III after besting Smithtown East 63-54 Thursday. Credit Markim Austin (20) and Jeremiah Cheatom, who combined for 38. Ryan Blitzer, like Cheatom, a star on the county champion football team, added 13. Cheatom grabbed 15 rebounds.
The Blue Wave travel to Newfield tomorrow and get West Islip at home Tuesday.