By Jake Sisson
The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers returned to their winning ways against Ross (1-5, 1-5) after suffering their first Suffolk County League VIII defeat against Southold (6-6, 4-3). The loss against Southold dropped the Lady Whalers into a tie atop the League VIII standings with Stony Brook (7-4, 6-1) but the win against Ross meant they kept pace ahead of the team’s matchup against Stony Brook on February 8.
The Lady Whaler defense was the real star of the show against Ross as the team tried to reset after having its six game winning streak snapped against Southold. Ross was held to a mere 17 points across the game’s first three quarters en route to giving up just 28 total points. By halftime, the score was 24-11 and the Lady Whalers were not looking back.
The offense was again led by senior guard Sarah Barrett, who added to her already impressive season totals by scoring 18 points. Fellow senior Amanda Busiello continued a strong week by contributing 11 points while another senior, Samantha James, put home 10 points to power Pierson/Bridgehampton to a 26-point victory.
By outscoring Ross 8-5 in the first quarter, 16-6 in the second quarter, 18-6 in the third quarter and 12-11 in the fourth quarter, the Lady Whalers made sure they nearly repeated their performance of January 25 where they bested Ross by 29.
The team could not repeat their performance against Southold, however, as the Lady Whalers stuttered to their first League VIII loss and their first defeat in 2011. Despite a season high from Amanda Busiello, the Lady Whalers could not generate enough fourth quarter offense to hold off a determined Southold comeback.
Things were looking good for Pierson/Bridgehampton as they entered the fourth quarter ahead 34-27. Thanks to a strong third period, in which the Lady Whalers outscored Southold by seven points, all that remained was to limit Southold’s scoring chances and hold on for the win.
It was not to be, as Southold took the lead with two minutes left in the game and held on to win 40-38. Pierson/Bridgehampton could only muster four points in the final eight minutes to leave a bitter taste in the team’s mouth and end a six-game winning run.
The loss was not for lack of effort, however, as Busiello had the best offensive game of her season, picking up 17 points for a team- and game-high. Not far behind was Sarah Barrett, who again scored in double digits, with 11 points. Also getting on the score sheet were Samantha James with six points and Emily Hinz with four points.
After the quick return to form, Pierson/Bridgehampton faces Mercy in a game they need to win to keep their spot at the top of League VIII. From there, Pierson faces Stony Brook in a game that could decide the future league champion. In the two teams’ last meeting, the Lady Whalers ran out 35-33 winners and needed a layup inside the final 30 seconds to finally shake a tenacious Stony Brook side. Pierson/ Bridgehampton will look to some of the momentum gained against Ross to dispatch Stony Brook, and the take home the League VIII title, more quickly this time around.