By Benito Vila
The numbers seemed stacked in Pierson’s favor from the start Tuesday, the Lady Whalers hosting the Ross Lady Ravens in a League VIII girls’ basketball match-up. The home team had ten players available while the visitors came in with just six.
That advantage meant little at the outset, Ross running up a 12-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Pierson’s depth and speed played a part in the second quarter, though, the Lady Whalers outscoring their counterparts 15-1 and taking a 24-13 halftime lead.
Lady Whaler coach Dennis Case described his team having a “poor start playing man-to-man. Our shooting was way off the mark, too. We were down 12-5 and switched to a 1-2-2 zone, then gave up only five points in the next two-and-a-half quarters.”
By the time the fourth quarter started, Pierson held a 42-17 lead, Coach Case able to turn to his bench to finish the game. Ross coach Garrett Cutler, meanwhile, had little in reserve, acknowledging, “We always start strong, but we get tired. Once our stamina goes, it’s harder to stay close.”
Still, Coach Cutler likes the talent he has on the squad. “It’s been the same players for the last three years. I’ve had them at the JV level and we’ve done well there. This is Ross’ first varsity team since 2005 and it’s an experience that we’re all having fun with.”
Lady Raven junior, Kayla Jerido, led all scorers Tuesday with 22 points. Lady Whaler Sarah Barrett was right behind with 21 points, matching a career high. Samantha James tossed in 12 for Pierson, with Amanda Busiello adding seven and Kaci Koehne six. Emily Hinz, four points, and Sariah Cafiero, two points, closed out the Lady Whalers’ scoring.
Also scoring for Ross were Lindsey Fridie and Autumn Williams, who had seven points and two points, respectively.
Monarchs, Bears and Royals
The Lady Whalers are now 2-1 in league play and have perennial powers Mercy and Stony Brook up next. The girls go to Mercy Friday for a 6:45 start and are home Monday for a 6:15 tip-off.
Looking ahead, Coach Case said, “Mercy will be tough but is definitely in our sights. Consistency and focus are needed for our team to get better.”
The 0-3 Lady Ravens also have a hard road ahead, Stony Brook coming in this afternoon for a 4:30 p.m. start. The Ross girls go to Port Jefferson on Monday and likely won’t be home until almost 11 p.m.
JV Ladies Roll
The Lady Whalers also took the JV match-up on Tuesday, Pierson outscoring Ross 38-18.
Lady Whaler coach Kevin Barron attributed his defense as being the difference in the game, saying, “[We] held Ross to 6 points in the first half. We were able to get steals and score many of our points in transition off the fast break.”
Julia Schiavoni led the team with 14 points, Rachel Saidman scoring ten and Kasey Gilbride, eight.