Lady Whalers Win Streak Snapped by Buzzer Beater
By Gavin Menu
A miracle shot at the buzzer spoiled an otherwise winning week for the Pierson-Bridgehampton girls basketball team, which had won four of its previous five games before falling in a heartbreaker at home on Monday night.
With visiting Babylon on the ropes trailing by two points with only six seconds remaining in overtime, senior guard Shane Antolini launched a desperation three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Pierson guard Isabel Peters. The shot hit nothing but net at the buzzer and the 46-45 loss snapped a two-game streak in which the Lady Whalers had beaten top-tier competition.
Pierson Athletic Director Eric Bramoff captured the final play: Watch video here.
“We played as even as you could possibly play with the exception of a tenth of a second,” Pierson head coach Kevin Barron said, referencing the fateful final play that dropped the Lady Whalers to 3-1 in League VII and 7-4 overall. “I think this one definitely builds character going forward. It’s nothing but stellar.”
The Lady Whalers were coming off two huge road wins in which they knocked off Miller Place, 56-44, in non-league play on January 7
and Center Moriches, 40-36, on Saturday.
The team on Monday played without its top two offensive threats in Nia Dawson, who was sick, and Katie Kneeland, who had a death in the family. A reshuffled lineup that included Fallon O’Brien and Alyssa Kneeland in the staring lineup was shut out, 7-0, in the first quarter. The Lady Whalers trailed 19-9 at halftime and were down by as many as 13 points in the third quarter.
Pierson junior Lily Kot helped Pierson claw their way back in the game by scoring nine of her team-high 14 points in the third quarter, which ended with Babylon clinging to a four-point lead.
Erica Selyukova opened the fourth quarter by scoring off a nice post move, and Lottie Evans, who plays limited minutes when Dawson and Katie Kneeland are in the lineup, drilled a three-pointer moments later to give Pierson its first lead of the game with 6:59 remaining. Peters, who finished with a season-high 12 points, hit a three from the corner two minutes later and capped a 17-0 run that put the Lady Whalers up 34-30.
“A lot of players stepped up,” Selyukova said in the aftermath of one of the most exciting finishes at Pierson in recent memory. “We had to rearrange our offense a little bit. It was hard without [Nia and Katie] because it was difficult to develop our chemistry in the beginning. It was a hard transition, but we had to make do.”
Evans, who finished with eight points, hit another deep jumper with just over a minute to play to tie the game at 38, which is where the fourth quarter would end. She hit another shot early in overtime, which Peters followed with a driving layup to put Pierson up by two with under a minute left.
Selyukova was fouled with 6.7 seconds remaining, and Pierson leading by a point. She hit the first foul shot, but missed the second, setting up Babylon for one last desperation heave. The shot fell through the net, and the home crowd was silenced, at least for another day.
“I called out Lottie downstairs and the whole team gave her a nice round of applause, and the same thing with Fallon [O’Brien] and Christen Heine,” Barron said, mentioning players who came through on Monday with strong performances in the absence of two starters. “I’m so proud of this team, they played unbelievable.”
The Lady Whalers welcomed Wyandanch on Wednesday and will play at Southampton on Friday, January 15, at 6:15 p.m. and at Mattituck on Wednesday, January 20, at 5:45 p.m.