By Gavin Menu
The Pierson girls basketball team rode the hot hand of senior Nia Dawson to a 60-49 win over visiting Southold/Greenport on Thursday night in a Suffolk County Class C outbracket game. The win set up a rematch with top-seeded Port Jefferson this Saturday at Riverhead at High School, where a county champion will be crowned
The Lady Royals lost only one game during the regular season and beat Pierson by 34 points one week ago. Pierson head coach Kevin Barron on Thursday said his team had moved on from that somewhat meaningless defeat and was ready to get back to business this weekend.
“We’re a different team this week,” Barron said following the win over Southold, which was the fourth time the two teams met this season, with Pierson now having won three. “That was not us this past Saturday. There’s no way these girls are going to be the same team on Saturday.”
Southold beat Pierson 69-65 back on Spirit Night on January 27 and led by as many as seven late in the second quarter. Pierson pulled within three at halftime, and exploded from the break with an 18-7 run in the third quarter. The final few minutes of the game were spent with the Lady Whalers camped out on the foul line as their defense swarmed the Lady Settlers into a slew of missed shots.
“We slowed them down a little bit more,” Barron said about his defense, comparing it to the last game in which Southold scored 69 points. “We didn’t allow them to hit outside shots.”
Dawson had 25 points to lead all scorers, even while she hit just nine of 18 foul shots in the game. Katie Kneeland got hot late and finished with 11 points, while seniors Isabel Peters and Lily Kot scored eight points apiece.
Southold was led by senior Madison Tabor, who ended her decorated career with a team-high 20 points for the Lady Settlers.
Saturday’s game at Riverhead tips off at 5 p.m. with the winner advancing in the overall Suffolk tournament to play the Class B champion on Friday, February 24, back at Riverhead.
The Class C playoffs will resume with the Long Island Championship game and New York State Southeast Regional semifinal against the winner from Nassau County on March 6 at SUNY Westbury.