Henry Brooks goes off in hard fought victory

Whalers Secure Essential Win

Cooper Schiavoni shoots over Smithtown Christian defenders. Independent/Gordon M. Grant

Someone better get a hold of Henry Brooks and hose him down. The diminutive sophomore guard is red hot, as in smoking hot.

Smithtown Christian found out the hard way on Thursday, January 10, when Brooks ignited for 41 points as the Whalers prevailed in a must-win game, 71-64.

Pierson, looking to run its League VII record to 3-2 and get a leg up on a playoff berth, knew the Knights were capable of an upset. Though 0-5 this season (0-9) overall Smithtown Christian has surprised Pierson before, and just two days earlier had played mighty Greenport tough.

Sure enough, despite playing at home Pierson couldn’t shake the visitors, falling behind by one point at half time and clinging to a three-point lead after three stanzas.

Then Brooks took center stage. Spinning, driving, popping from the far reaches — he drilled four three-point bombs — Pierson slowly pulled ahead. The win gave Pierson a 6-6 overall record and the locals have a chance to add to that total against Ross on January 18. After that, a trip to Southold on January 28 will be critical: The Settlers (4-3, 7-5) mean business this season and figure to be a major obstacle in the race for a county Class C crown and a state playoff berth.

Wilson Bennett, 11, and Cooper Schiavoni and Richard Barranco with eight each, contributed to the win. By the way, Brooks’s performance moved him into 10th place in the county scoring race: He is averaging 21.5 per game.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com