Nick Eckhardt scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with two minutes left to give Southold (6-4) a 56-54 lead, and Cole Brigham (11 points, six assists) made four free throws in the final minute to seal a 62-60 win over Pierson (5-4) on Monday, January 28, and a playoff berth for the second straight year.
“We played good in spurts,” Pierson head coach Hank Katz said. “They have a few good shooters we were trying to contain, and for the most part we did that early on, but they just outplayed us.”
Pierson has a few good shooters of its own, including junior Henry Brooks, who brought the fire early scoring 18 of his game-high 26 points in the first half. The point guard made four threes.
“Henry’s a great player, he always plays his hardest,” Katz said. “He did a lot of great things, puts his heart out on the court, and it just didn’t work out tonight.”
The Whalers let their 35-26 halftime advantage slowly slip away after the break. Brigham scored seven of Southold’s 16 third-quarter points, including a 3-pointer that made it a 10-point game, and Nick Grathwohl tallied four of his team-high 16 points in the fourth. He also had four assists. Steven Russell added 10 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists for the Settlers, who tried to make the most of their time at the free-throw line in the second half, going 10-for-16 from the charity stripe.
Nick Egbert scored 14 points for Pierson, and Cooper Schiavoni added 11, including a 3-pointer that made it a 1-point game late in the fourth.
“We started really strong, but we didn’t rebound nearly well enough,” Katz said. “We lacked consistency on both ends; they were more physical than us, and gave themselves more opportunities to score.”