By Benito Vila
There’s a certain awkwardness all creatures encounter in taking their first steps. So it is with sports teams at times, the scoreboard, crowd, referees and uniforms making something practiced seem unfamiliar.
Luckily for the Pierson Lady Whalers on Monday, that sort of nervousness overcame their East Hampton counterparts as well as each team scrimmaged for the first time. While the two teams combined for just 11 points in the first quarter, Pierson putting in nine, the pace picked up later, the Lady Whalers running up 21 points on their own in the third quarter.
Pierson coach Dennis Case was unfazed by the slow start, saying, “This time of year the kids are somewhat mechanical. They’re determined to go through the offense without looking at all their options. They look to pass instead of going to the basket. It’s what they’ve been working on in practice. Once we start playing, there’ll be a big difference.”
Some of that “difference” was evident to Coach Case in the third quarter. “We were much more confident than the way we came out. We were no longer forcing things and we had some excellent passing.”
Sparking the Lady Whaler attack were guards Sariah Cafiero and Amanda Busiello, who had Kaci Koehne, Sam James, Annie Osiecki and Bridget Canavan helping them out underneath. Sarah Barrett and Emily Hinz also saw time at the top of the key in the period, giving Coach Case a solid eight-deep rotation to work with.
The Lady Whalers also have Sam Kamper, Meggy Freund and Brittney Scala coming off the bench, with Catherine O’Brien still on the mend from a prolonged flu.
Evaluating his team and the league, Coach Case said, “We have no superstars, but we’re solid all the way around. We can run with anybody; still it’s going to be very competitive in our league. Stony Brook’s going to be the team to beat, but it depends on if the whole team does well if we’re going to win on any given day.”
On Friday, the girls make their home court debut, hosting non-league Southampton at 5:45 p.m. The team heads to Mattituck Monday and Rocky Point Thursday for two more non-league contests before opening up league play against Shelter Island December 15. That match-up is set to start at 5:45 p.m. at Pierson.
In describing the keys to his team’s season Coach Case surmised, “If we work on rebounding and are patient and consistent on offense, we’ll have an interesting and exciting season.”
JV Deep, Too
The Lady Whaler JV also impressed its coach, Kevin Barron, with its effort Monday in East Hampton. Coach Barron said, “The girls played excellent defense all around. They put tremendous pressure on the ball that created numerous turnovers and fast break points. They had good ball movement, however, they had difficulty putting the ball in the basket.”
“Finishing plays and shooting will be our focus before our upcoming games. I was very pleased with the hustle and excitement from what is really a young team; we have four eighth graders and eight ninth graders.”
May Evjen, Kasey Gilbride, Katherine Matthers and Sol Varela are the middle school four with Jenna Chase, Maricarmen Chavez, Alissa Clermont, Sydnee McKie-Senior, Abigail Ruiz, Rachel Saidman, Julia Schiavoni and Holly Zappola all representing the ninth grade.
The JV tips off at home for the first time on Friday, meeting Southampton at 4 p.m.