It was a good week for the Pierson girls basketball team.
Not only did the Lady Whalers clinch a playoff spot in Class C with a 32-18 win at Shelter Island on January 29, they also avenged a loss from earlier in the season, beating second-place Southold, 44-40, at home on senior night in Sag Harbor on January 31. Pierson improved to 7-4, 9-8.
A great effort on the boards and clutch play down the stretch enabled Pierson to get past Southold. With less than a minute left, Pierson guard Emily Hinz drove to the basket, hit a layup and got fouled. The layup put Pierson up 42-40, and although she missed the foul shot, teammate Abby Ruiz grabbed the rebound and got fouled, making one of her foul shots. Sydnee McKie-Senior added another foul shot down the stretch to help secure the win for Pierson. The Lady Whalers collected 23 offensive rebounds in that game, which head coach Kevin Barron said was the key to the win.
Ruiz and Kasey Gilbride each had nine points for Pierson, while Bridget Canavan added eight and Hinz and May Evjen each had six.
“It was great to end the home season on that win,” Barron said. “The seniors wanted that game so bad and their teammates wanted that for them. The game also gave us a huge boost of confidence as a team. We know there is a good chance we will see Southold again in the playoffs and that we will have to bring the same intensity to that game.”
In the win over Shelter Island, Barron said he was happy to see his team clinch a playoff and also to hold Shelter Island to just 18 points, but called the game “sloppy.”
“We had a very difficult time scoring but our defense kept us in the game as usual,” he said. “Any time you hold a team to 18 it is a positive.
Julia Schiavoni came off the bench to lead the team with eight points, scoring all of her points in the fourth quarter.
Boys Win Pair
The boys improved to 10-2 in League VIII, 10-6 overall with a pair of wins last week, keeping them in second place in the league behind Stony Brook (12-0, 13-2). They won, 75-50, at Southold on January 31 after beating Shelter Island, 53-34, two days earlier.
Forrest Loesch had a career-high 26 points in the win over Southold, and Jake Bennett added 16. Pat Sloane finished with 11 points. The Whalers got off to a hot start in that game, leading, 19-8, after the first quarter, and stayed in control despite experiencing foul trouble and some poor shooting.
“We were a little undisciplined defensively, and we did not shoot well, but we still scored 75 points, which means we got to the hoop well,” head coach Dan White said.
Against Shelter Island, White said his team had a goal of holding the Indians to less than 30 points at the end of three quarters and they achieved that goal.
Bennett led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Ian Barrett had 10 points and five assists and Joey Butts had 10 points.
White said he expected that his team would likely host Greenport in the first round of the Class C playoffs, provided the Whalers can win at least one of their last two games. Defending the county title they won last year, in buzzer-beating fashion over Stony Brook, won’t be an easy task though.
“I think we still have some improvement to do in order to get back to where we were last year,” White said.ON THE SCHEDULE: Girls—Friday, 2/8, at Stony Brook, 7:30 p.m. Boys—Tuesday, 2/5, at Bridgehampton, 6 p.m.; Friday, 2/8, vs. Stony Brook, 6:15 p.m.