By Jacob Sisson
The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers (8-9, 8-3) are making sure they hit the playoffs in full stride after coming home from their Friday night trip to Port Jefferson to face the Royals (0-14, 0-12) 62-30 winners. It was the second time this year the Lady Whalers have seen off the Royals, having won their only previous encounter, 67-19. With the win, the Lady Whalers remained in a tie for second place in Suffolk County’s League VIII with Bishop McGann – Mercy (9-7, 8-3). The two teams are in a shootout for second place in the overall league standings, as league leaders Stony Brook (11-5, 10-1) wrapped up the regular season title with an overtime win over Southold on Monday.
Against the Royals, things looked over only eight minutes in as the Lady Whalers powered to an 18-4 first quarter lead. Despite the halftime scoreboard reading a more modest 26-13, the Lady Whalers outscored the Royals 36-13 in the second half, including a 21-7 fourth quarter, to put the game well out of reach and secure their eighth league win of the year.
Three seniors led the Lady Whalers, as they have done routinely throughout the season. The night’s top scorer was Samantha James, a senior forward, who had 18 points, which marked her season high. Just behind her was senior guard Sarah Barrett, who continued her excellent year with 16 points. Also breaking double figures on the night was senior forward Kaci Koehne, who also had her best night of the season, with 11 points. Helping to make sure the Royals had no shot on the night were Nina Hemby with six points, Amanda Busiello and Bridget Canavan with four points and Rachel Saidman, who had three points.
Pierson/Bridgehampton welcomes Shelter Island (5-9, 5-6) to town on Wednesday for the regular season’s final game. The Lady Whalers will have to be careful against Shelter Island, as a win will earn them a playoff berth.
Wednesday’s game will be the final regular season game, and final regular season home game, for the team’s five departing seniors – guards Sarah Barrett and Amanda Busiello and forwards Samatha James, Kaci Koehne and Nina Hemby. Those players make up a fearsome starting lineup on their own and each will be looking to impress in their final 24 minutes of regular season basketball in the gym they call home.
Pierson/Bridgehampton will be playing for a post-season home game on Wednesday, as a Lady Whalers win coupled with a Mercy loss will bring the playoffs to Pierson’s home court on Saturday afternoon. Mercy will play league leaders Stony Brook at home on Wednesday. Regardless of the outcome, the Whalers will face Mercy on Saturday for the right to travel to the Suffolk County Class “C” County Championship game to face the winner of the other playoff outbracket matcup – Stony Brook and Southold.