By Jacob Sisson
There was more than one successful girl’s basketball team at the Pierson High School in the 2010-2011 season, and after a solid 7-10 season, including a 7-7 league record, the Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers Junior Varsity squad should ease the loss of five graduating varsity starters.
Pierson/Bridgehampton coach Kevin Barron did what any seasoned coach does to get the best out of his team: test them early and challenge them to gel as a unit.
“After a tough non-league schedule, the team really began to mesh together when our league schedule began,” said Barron.
“We averaged approximately 20 points a game during our non-league games, and ended up averaging 32 points a game during our league schedule. Everyone seemed to find their offensive role as the season progressed.”
The Lady Whalers had a good balance of sophomores and freshmen to work with, boasting six sophomores and nine freshmen. The sophomores who were the team’s real leaders were Maricarmen Chavez, Rachel Saidman, Abby Ruiz, Sydnee Mckie-Senior, Julia Schiavoni and Holly Zappola.”
Those sophomores were key to the success of the team on the whole, helping power the team to victory and pull them out of trouble on a number of occasions.
“For our offensive game, we relied on the dominant play of Abby Ruiz in the paint and Rachel Saidman from the outside. Maricarmen Chavez and Sydney Mckie-Senior, as well as freshman May Evjen added points with their nice touch from the outside.”
One game that stuck out in Barron’s mind and was a real highlight of the season was a 36-34 victory over League VIII foes Southold.
“At Southold, we went into halftime down 14 points and were down as many as 18 in the first half. The second half we dominated and ended up winning the game.”
“This game gave the girls a tremendous confidence boost since Southold is one of the best teams in the league.”
More than just the team’s talent shone through in the victory over Southold, as Barron pointed to the team’s “never quit attitude” as one of its strongest qualities.
“We grew so much as a team this season. The girls worked extremely hard to get better and always put the team first before themselves. By the end of the season, other teams feared the team’s defense and aggressiveness.”
Defense and aggressiveness will be qualities that are sure to please Lady Whalers varsity coach Dennis Case. Case is losing five of his most important players from the past season to graduation and will need to reload from this talented junior varsity squad.
Joining Chavez, Saidman, Ruiz, Mckie-Senior, Schiavoni and Zappola in the fight for a spot on the varsity roster will be freshmen May Evjen, Ashley Nill, Katy Koehne, Sydney Mitchell, Eilis Scheil, Alexus Suydam, Dianna Rozzi, Sol Varela and Emme Luck.
“The sophomores moving to the varsity level will immediately play key roles in the success of the program next year. The remaining freshmen will continue to work in preparation to the journey on varsity.”
With so much talent waiting in the wings, the Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers basketball program has little to fear for the next few years