By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller
The glow surrounding the Pierson girls basketball team after its exhilarating win over Southold in the Suffolk County Class C Championship faded during a loss to Hampton Bays in the Suffolk B/C title game at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue on Saturday night.
Pierson trailed the Lady Baymen, 36-17, at halftime and despite a solid third quarter failed to get back in the game while going on to lose, 62-35. Two nights later, Hampton Bays lost to Harborfields, 59-34, in the Small Schools Title game, but will still advance in the Class B playoffs.
The good news for the Lady Whalers is they were back at practice this week preparing to resume their run through the Class C playoffs. The Long Island Championship against Friends Academy will tip at 4 p.m. next Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
Friends has won back-to-back Nassau County Class C titles and is the defending Long Island champion.
“I have no doubt that we will get right back on track and be prepared for Friends Academy next week,” Pierson coach Kevin Barron said. “Friends is another strong offensive team that will have the height advantage on us. We will have the speed advantage that will hopefully benefit us in transition and on defense.”
Sophomore Erica Selyukova led Pierson with 14 points against Hampton Bays, while Bridget Canavan and Isabel Peters chipped in with six points apiece. The Lady Whalers struggled to handle the Lady Baymen’s pressure defense, with seniors Eilis Sheil, May Evjen and Kasey Gilbride combining for just eight points. Barron pointed out that Hampton Bays is the number one defense in Suffolk County in points allowed per game.
Hannah Reed led Hampton Bays with 15 points while the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Alexis Fotopoulos, was held to 14, which is well below her season average.
“We did a pretty good job on her for most of the game,” Barron said about Fotopoulos, adding that overall he was pleased with his team’s performance, despite the lopsided outcome. “The problem is they have so many weapons on that team that they just overpowered us on both sides of the ball.”
The winner from Tuesday’s Long Island final, which will double as a state regional semifinal, will advance to play the winner from Section I and Section IX in a Southeast regional final, which is tentatively scheduled to take place at New Rochelle High School on March 8 at 12 noon. The New York State championships will be held at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy over the weekend of March 14-16.