By Benito Vila
At the end of the season, only one team comes off the basketball court with a win. The Pierson Lady Whalers won’t be that team this winter, a 51-28 loss to undefeated Stony Brook in a county Class C semi-final match-up on Tuesday ending a campaign that saw the girls go 7-5 in league play.
Coming into the first practice with no seniors and two eighth graders, Lady Whaler coach Dennis Case expected to have a rebuilding season full of growing pains. What the team delivered instead was a strong run towards the top of the league, undone by a pair of one-sided losses to Stony Brook and Southold and an inexplicable let down at home against Mercy.
In closing out regular season play last Thursday at Pierson, the Lady Whalers put up high numbers on and off the court. Off the court, they raised $350 for Katy’s Courage, a fund set up for Pierson sixth grader Katy Stewart who is battling liver cancer. On the court, they came away with a 53-40 win over Port Jefferson.
Up 44-25 after the third quarter, the Lady Whalers held off a late charge by the Lady Royals. Co-captain Sarah Barrett led the team in scoring with 16 points.
The other co-captain, Sami James, dropped in 12 with Kasey Gilbride, Emily Hinz and Bridget Canavan each contributing six. Annie Osiecki added four and Kaci Koehne three.
Afterwards, Coach Case said he was “happy with the intensity,” noting, “There were times when the passing was just gorgeous.”
He also acknowledged the play of Gilbride who moved up from JV and sparked a second quarter run.
“We had a slow start and we were up just one after the first, but Kasey had three steals in the second and we started clicking right off of that.” The ladies outscored the visitors 19-9 in the quarter and held a 32-21 lead at the half.
Not Quite Right
Taking a trip west to meet Stony Brook in a cold icy mist on Tuesday was not quite the way anyone wanted to spend a school vacation day. A 22-3 Lady Bears advantage after the first quarter made the day even more dreary.
Unfazed, the Lady Whalers played their hosts nearly even the rest of the way, that early 19-point deficit growing by only four when the final buzzer sounded.
James led the team with 10 points, Koehne pumping in eight and Barret four. JV call-up Julia Schiavoni added two, as did both Gilbride and Osiecki.