By Gavin Menu
Bridget Canavan scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in a game that saw 11 different Lady Whalers score to lead the Pierson-Bridgehampton girls basketball team to a 52-28 rout of McGann-Mercy in a home opener Monday night at Pierson Middle-High School.
The win was the first non-league victory for the Lady Whalers in at least three years and came just three days after a 45-29 road loss to Westhampton Beach on November 30.
Junior Julia Schiavoni came off the bench to grab eight rebounds and joined four other Lady Whalers, including Abby Ruiz, Eilis Sheil, Kasey Gilbride and freshman Erica Selyukova, with six points apiece.
Pierson came out on fire with crisp ball movement and a swarming full-court defense that led to a 22-7 first-quarter lead. Canavan dominated on the glass early with four quick points. Sydnee Mckie-Senior also scored four early points off fast breaks and within the first four minutes of the game, the Lady Whalers had built a double-digit lead.
“I could not have asked for more in that first quarter,” first-year head coach Kevin Barron said. “They came out with so much energy. I told them we wanted pressure from the beginning and on the first play we got a layup off a steal and just kept the pressure on the entire quarter.”
Barron used his entire bench during the game and played his second unit for most of the second quarter, in which the Lady Whalers built a commanding 32-9 lead going into halftime. Gilbride came off the bench and provided intense defensive pressure, forcing steals that led to points. Maricarmen Chavez, Rachel Saidman, Emily Hinz and Ashley Nill all chipped in points for the Lady Whalers.
“I love how everybody’s contributing right now,” Barron said. “There’s not just one player who is doing everything. Instead everyone is contributing in practice and in games.”
Against Westhampton, the Lady Whalers were down just two points at halftime but let the game slip away during the first two minutes of the third quarter on a 10-0 run by the Lady Hurricanes. Canavan and Seylukova led the team with nine points each, but only four other players scored in the game, a result starkly opposed to Monday’s balanced attack against Mercy.
“Against Westhampton, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but when we put on pressure, we were successful. It really came down to a couple minutes in the third quarter,” Barron said before turning his attention back to the win over Mercy. “Our first goal was to win a non-league game, and now that we have, we want to keep it going. We have to keep our energy high.”
The Lady Whalers will play two final non-league games at Centereach today, December 6, and at Bayport-Blue Point on Tuesday, December 11. The team’s League VIII opener will be at the Ross School on Friday, December 14 at 4 p.m.