By Gavin Menu
The Pierson/Bridgehampton girls basketball team rocketed to a 10-1 start this season with a deep lineup and a core of senior starters. The team since has battled injuries and a recent three-game losing streak has all but killed the team’s chance for a League VII title.
Still, larger prizes could await should the Lady Whalers grow healthy again and return to their up-tempo brand of team basketball by the time the playoffs begin in mid-February. Senior Lily Kot, who helps drive the engine for the Lady Whalers, has missed the team’s most recent games, all losses to league foes Port Jefferson, Mattituck and Center Moriches.
Pierson on Tuesday came up on the losing end of a 55-42 game at Center Moriches that dropped the team’s league record to 6-4, which is tied for third place with Mercy behind unbeaten Mattituck and second-place Port Jeff, the team most likely to challenge Pierson for the Suffolk County Class C title late next month.
Nia Dawson led the team with 23 points against Center Moriches, and Isabel Peters had 14 as the team once again played with a skeleton crew.
The Lady Whalers lost to Mattituck, 52-50, in a heartbreaker at home on Thursday, January 12. The Lady Tuckers held a narrow lead throughout the game until Dawson hit a free throw late in the third quarter to tie the game at 36. Mattituck again pulled away in the early part of the fourth, but the Lady Whalers clawed back and sophomore Katie Kneeland hit a three to tie the game at 50 with less than a minute to play.
Pierson had possession late, Peters was unable to convert on a runner in the lane, which turned into a fast break in the other direction where Mattituck’s Corrine Reda hit a basket with five seconds remaining to provide the game’s final margin.
Dawson finished with 20 points, Peters had 12 and Kneeland added 11. Sophomore Celia Barranco, who had a strong game in the paint in terms of defense and rebounding, finished with six points. Junior forward Liz Dwyer finished with a game-high 26 points to lead Mattituck.
Along with the absence of Kot, who suffered a concussion earlier this season against Stony Brook, the Lady Whalers played without senior Lottie Evans and sophomore Hollie Schleicher, both of whom are expected to return this season.
The Lady Whalers will enjoy some much-needed time off from competition this week and will get back to action with a road game at Mercy on Wednesday, January 25, at 6:15 p.m. The team will kick off Spirit Night with a 4:30 p.m. home game on Friday, January 27.