November 29, 2006
Pierson Boys' Basketball Preview
The Pierson Whalers (12-7 overall) excelled far beyond most expectations last season, defeating both Class D champion Greenport and co-League VIII champion Bridgehampton during the regular season on their way to a playoff appearance.
But Pierson's success didn't come without a price as the program graduated not only four starters, but also its three top reserves players, leaving more questions than answers for head coach Fred Marienfeld.
"We've definitely got some work to do. I don't really know what we have yet because there are so many unknowns. We lost four starters and the top three guys off of our bench and we're going to have to make up for some stuff with our defense. We need to challenge people and dictate the tempo."
Senior guard Dave Locascio (13 points per game in 05-06) is the Whalers' lone returning starter, bringing an uncanny ability to shoot (and make) numerous three-pointers from any area on the court. Locascio played mostly point guard last season though he'll see more time at shooting guard this winter. "I'm looking for Dave to provide some leadership for us," said Marienfeld. "Being the only returning starter, he has a young team around him and they'll need to rely on him."
Keith Robinson, a junior guard, started four games last season before breaking his ankle in a scrimmage against Mattituck. Now fully recovered, he's primed for a bounce back season and will likely be asked to help take some of the offensive pressure off of Locascio, one of the top shooters in League VIII.
Junior Matt Paul is a superb football player for East Hampton and he brings size and strength to the center position with his 6'5, 275 lb. frame. Matt's older brother Max started for Pierson the past three seasons and is now starting for the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy team. "Matt's been working really hard and he'll see a lot of time this season," Marienfeld remarked.
Junior Steve McCarron and sophomore Nick DePetris both look like candidates to fill the Whalers' forward spots with junior Zach O'Connell also in the mix. Sophomore guard Soff Baig is an aggressive, well-rounded defender with a nice jump shot who should get some looks while junior Zach North and seniors Mike Chase and Paul Kinnier round out the Whalers' varsity roster.
"Right now, I'm looking for some people to provide us with offense," Marienfeld said. "Defensively, I think we'll be okay, but we can't have Dave [Locascio] being the only one scoring. We've got so many question marks right now. We can't get into a scoring match with people because we don't have the options and we don't have the size. Defense is going to have to come first. Our goal is always to make the playoffs and to continue to see this team improve. Even losing as many players as we did, I think that we can do that."
Pierson opens its non-league schedule December 4 against Comsewogue before traveling to Mattituck for another non-league game on December 8.