It’s been almost 15 years since the Pierson girls basketball team hung a county championship banner in its gym. But if this group of Lady Whalers has anything to say about it, that streak could come to an end soon.
The Lady Whalers (8-1 in League VIII, 10-6 overall) picked up two more wins last week, getting past East Hampton, 39-36, in a non-league home game on January 28 after beating Southold, 54-38, at home a day earlier, and they seemed poised to win their first county title since 2000.
Pierson has not lost in 2014, its last defeat coming at the hands of Rocky Point in a non-league game on December 28. And its last—and only—league loss was on December 20, when it lost a four-point game in Southold.
In the second meeting between the teams, the Lady Whalers proved they aren’t the same squad the Lady Settlers faced the first time around. Pierson never trailed in the win, taking a 25-13 lead at the half and never looking back. Forward Bridget Canavan led Pierson with 16 points, while guard Kasey Gilbride had 10 points, four steals and three assists. Guard May Evjen added seven points and 10 rebounds, while forward Eilis Sheil had seven points and forward Erica Selyukova had four points and 10 rebounds.
“The girls were so focused going into this game not only because it was senior night, but because we were playing Southold,” Pierson head coach Kevin Barron said. “We have developed a rivalry over the past few years and it seems like every game we play is very competitive.
“Our defense won the game,” Barron continued. “We did not allow uncontested jump shots and we stopped all penetration into the paint. It was one of our best defensive games of the year.”
Pierson had a strong defensive effort, particularly in the first half, in the win over East Hampton, holding the Lady Bonackers to just eight first half points, including just two in the second quarter. The Lady Bonackers got back on track and started to take advantage of their size advantage in the post in the second half, but Pierson managed to hold on for the win.
“Our offense was aggressive and the ball movement was nice,” Barron said. “We looked a little drained from the previous night. It was tough to have this game, following the emotion of senior night. To our credit, the girls came together and were able to put together the non-league win.”
Canavan led Pierson with 11 points, 11 rebounds and two assists, while Selyukova had five points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Sheil and Gilbride each added seven points.
Pierson was originally scheduled to visit Wyandanch for a non-league game on February 3, but it was postponed due to bad weather. The Lady Whalers will receive a forfeit from Ross, which was the final league game on their schedule, as Ross folded its varsity program this year. The Class C playoffs are slated to begin on Friday, February 14.
After losing to Pierson, the Lady Bonackers fell, 39-33, at Mount Sinai on Friday. The loss dropped East Hampton to 1-9 in League VI, 2-13 overall. Jackie Messemer led her team with 11 points in the loss. Carley Seekamp led East Hampton with 10 points in the loss to Pierson.