They didn't forget. Not for a single moment.
"Every day since we lost," Marco Masakayan of the Stony Brook School said when asked how often he reflected on the buzzer-beating defeat against Pierson in last year's Suffolk C final.
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In the rematch Thursday night, the results were dramatically different. The Stony Brook School held Pierson to five second-half points and rolled to a 57-27 victory to win the Suffolk C crown at Westhampton.
"I was a starter and I was on the court when the shot went in," senior guard Tyler Abrahamsen said of Forrest Loesch's three-pointer with less than a second remaining to give the Whalers a 34-32 triumph. "It was the worst feeling of my life."
Abrahamsen and senior Masakayan were among the happiest of Bears this time. Masakayan, a slick point guard, scored 13 points and played a key role during a 17-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters and broke open a close game.
Loesch scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half as Pierson (11-8) closed to within 26-22 at halftime with a late flurry.
Leading 28-23 in the third, the Bears sank three three-pointers in a row -- two by Brandon Odom (11 points) and one by Abrahamsen -- to pull away. Masakayan closed the quarter with a hanging fadeaway in the lane and two free throws. He fed Max Pitsch for a layup, and after Michael Dingammadji converted a putback a minute into the fourth, Stony Brook had scored 17 straight points for a 45-27 lead.
"Coach always says the first four minutes of the third quarter is the most important part of the game," Masakayan said. "We knew what our strengths were and we played to them."
Those strengths included persistent man-to-man defense, a spread-the-wealth offense and a height advantage inside.
Andrew Daniel, one of Suffolk's leading rebounders, had five of his 13 points in the fourth. The Bears closed on a 12-0 run to outscore Pierson 31-5 in the half.
"I was so wrapped up in the game that it wasn't until there were three minutes left and I looked up and said to my assistant coach, 'We really have a 25-point lead?' " coach Mike Hickey said. "As good as Pierson is, it is astonishing for us to hold them to five points in the second half. After losing with point-five seconds to go last year, it's a very redemptive feeling to win so convincingly."