Lackluster efforts in the fourth quarter nearly cost the Pierson girls basketball team in two games last week, turning what looked like easy wins into nailbiters at the end. The Lady Whalers began the week with a 53-51 home win over Port Jefferson in the League VIII opener, then lost, 64-28, to a tough Mattituck squad in a non-league road game on Thursday. The following day, Pierson got its second league win, beating Mercy, 48-43, at home.
Against Mercy, the Lady Whalers had a 19-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but let the Lady Monarchs back into the game. Mercy’s Fiona Nunez had 11 of her 16 points in the fourth, helping lead her team’s comeback. Pierson managed to hang on for the win, and head coach Kevin Barron was happy with what he said was a team effort. Forward Eilis Sheil had 14 points and 10 rebounds, while guard May Evjen had 10 points, 13 rebounds and four steals. Guard Kasey Gilbride had 10 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and seven steals, while forward Bridget Canvan had nine points, seven rebounds and 10 steals.
“I thought we played three quarters of strong basketball, offensively and defensively,” Barron said. “Every girl on the team contributed in this win. It’s nice to see that we do not have the same high scorer every single game. Different girls are stepping up every game and are making plays.”
“We just have to learn how to put teams away and keep those comfortable leads we get early in the game,” he added.
Against Port Jeff, Pierson had a 24-13 lead at halftime, and was doing a nice job containing Lady Royal standout Courtney Lewis, holding her to just five first-half points. But Lewis came alive in the fourth, breaking out for 25 points and nearly leading her team to the win. Lewis made a three-point play with 35 seconds left in the game to put Port Jeff up by one, but after a timeout, Evjen passed the ball to Canavan, who hit a three-pointer with 12 seconds left to put Pierson up by two. Canavan finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Gilbride also added 16 points to go along with four rebounds and four steals. Isabel Peters had eight points and six rebounds.
Barron said that while his team wasn’t nearly as competitive against Mattituck, he felt the non-league game had some good lessons for his team.
“Mattituck had many offensive weapons, which was tough for us to handle on defense,” he said. “They did an excellent job moving the ball around the outside to find the open jump shot. Even though it was a tough loss, I think we took some important things from that game like the need to work on defending the outside shot and breaking the press.”
Evjen led Pierson with seven points and Gilbride had six.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 12/17, vs. Stony Brook, 4:30 p.m.; Friday 12/20, at Southold/Greenport, 6:15 p.m.; Monday, 12/23, vs. Sayville, 10 a.m.; Friday, 12/27 at Hampton Bays tournament, 11 a.m.