By Gavin Menu
If it’s true that defense wins championships, then the Lady Whalers should find success once the Suffolk County Class C playoffs begin next month.
But for now, the Pierson-Bridgehampton girls basketball team is struggling offensively and as a result lost, 28-25, to Stony Brook on Tuesday night to drop to 3-3 in League VIII play.
Statistically, the Lady Whalers have the best defense in the league, allowing an average of just 30 points per game. Coming into the season, first-year head coach Kevin Barron said he hoped the team’s full-court pressure defense would limit scoring chances for the opposition but also lead to an increase in offense for the Lady Whalers.
So far, only half of Barron’s formula is paying off.
“We just can’t score at the right times when we need it,” said Barron, who was clearly upset by Tuesday’s loss in particular. “Going into the season I knew we had a lot of work to do offensively and I was hoping that by this time of year the shots would start to drop, but they haven’t yet.”
The team’s top scorer, junior Bridget Canavan, was held to just two points on Tuesday and while the team has routinely gotten balanced scoring from up-and-down the lineup, it is rare for the Lady Whalers to have more than one player score in double figures.
But because of the team’s outstanding defense, the Lady Whalers kept the game close against Stony Brook into the final seconds. The Lady Bears had a four-point lead with 30 seconds remaining when senior guard Rachel Saidman scored a basket to trim the lead to two. Stony Brook hit a foul shot with 12 seconds left to boost the lead to three points, but in the final seconds Pierson was unable to get off a good scoring chance before the final buzzer sounded.
“The girls were really upset since we lost two very tough games, two very close games,” Barron said, referring also to the team’s 47-41 loss to Southold-Greenport on January 8. “I told them now we just have to take it one game at a time. We’re going to be in the playoffs and now we just have to fight for a seed, so every game counts.”
The Lady Whalers will kick off the second half of the league season at home tomorrow, January 18, at 6:15 p.m. against the Ross School, which has struggled with a winless record this season, including a 47-20 loss to Pierson on December 14. Four days later, on January 22, Pierson will play at Smithtown Christian with a 4:30 p.m. tip.