By Jacob Sisson
The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers girls basketball team (1-6, 1-0) may have had a tough schedule of pre-season matchups, but following a productive week off, it is onward and upwards for a team gunning for the Suffolk County Class “C” championship. Despite losing their first six games of the year to non-league opponents, Pierson/Bridgehampton picked up some momentum and confidence with a 17-point league eight victory over Southold to draw the curtain on 2010.
Despite the slow start to the campaign, Lady Whalers’ coach Dennis Case prefers to focus on their most recent win than their string of defeats.
“We went 0-6 in non-league contests. It took us a while to start playing good ball. We opened our league season with a strong win by 17 over Southold. Hopefully this will carry over.”
It truly did take time for the Lady Whalers to coalesce on offense, having been held to less than 30 points in their first three games. Much of Pierson/Bridgehampton’s troubles could be traced to their murderer’s row of opponents, having played league seven’s Southampton (6-1, 0-0) twice, Mattituck and Hampton Bays (5-3, 0-0), league six’s Shoreham/Wading River (1-5, 0-1) and league five’s Eastport/South Manor (4-4, 1-1) once each.
“I feel that the strongest point this season is that we are finally playing together as a team.”
“Leading the way has been this year’s leading scorer Sarah Barrett, as well as Sam James. Both are seniors,” said Case.
Barrett has been the real bright spot in the Pierson/Bridgehampton offense in the 2010-2011 season, leading the team in five of their seven games and amassing 63 points in those games. Barrett’s best nights came December 10th against Eastport/South Manor and on December 14th against Mattituck, where the senior guard exploded for 17 points.
Complimenting Barrett on the offensive side of the ball is fellow senior Samantha James. The 5’11” forward added 11 points against Southold to help the Lady Whalers right the ship and get their first league win on December 17th.
Beyond the team’s two stars, Case has a full outfit of talented and experienced players to rely on. “Amanda Busiello at guard and Kaci Koehne and Nina Hemby at forward are all seniors. Nina is back from taking her junior year off from basketball. She adds strength to our front court.”
“Emily Hinz is a sophomore guard and has been very valuable to us this year. Kaci Koehne has led the team in rebounds so far this season.”
Indeed, Hinz has been the team’s most consistent scorer beyond James and Barrett. Hinz was third on score sheet against Southold, having contributed 7 points to the team effort. Busiello, too, has been a reliable source of points throughout the season.
Looking forward, Case is hoping that the Lady Whalers’ win against Southold will “carry over this Friday against Mercy,” a team Case had previously pointed to as “our main competition for the top spot.” With Pierson/Bridgehampton’s offense and defenses both starting to click – the Lady Whalers have outscored their opponents 80-64 in their last two games – there’s no reason that momentum shouldn’t carry over, despite the three-week lull in games.
Bishop McGann-Mercy comes into this Friday’s home game sporting an identical 1-0 league eight record and a 2-3 overall record. The Monarch’s league win also came at the hands of Southold, who fell 43-35 on Monday. The Lady Whalers will have to contain Amy Boden if they hope for success on Friday, with the Monarch player having scored 28 points in the team’s last two games.
Case and the Lady Whalers will need to forget about the first six games of their season and instead ride the confidence they earned in their dominant win against Southold. If they can keep in mind the lessons they learned in 2010, there’s no reason the Lady Whalers can’t be fighting for the Suffolk County Class “C” championship later this season.