Two local girls' high school basketball teams have earned berths in the New York State Championship tournament.
The Hampton Bays Baywomen won the Suffolk Class B title; the Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers earned the C title.
Both teams move on in their respective classes; in addition, the teams earned a right to go up in class against larger enrollment schools in quest of the overall Suffolk County title.
Pierson knocked off Southold/Greenport in the Class C finale on February 18. The North Forkers opened up a double digit lead in the first quarter but the Lady Whalers, employing a balanced scoring attack, inched closer and forged ahead for good in the fourth stanza courtesy of a blistering 13-2 run in rout to a 54-49 victory. The win upped the Whalers' record to 13-6.
Kasey Gilbride, the senior field hockey superstar who anchored the Lady Whalers' state championship team, is a pretty good hoopster as well. Her 13 points led the winners. Gilbride, incidentally, received a four-year scholarship from Division I Richmond to play field hockey. Erica Selyukova tallied 12 but more important, controlled the paint on both sides of the floor, grabbing 16 rebounds. May Evjen tallied nine points for the winners. Isabel Peters and Bridget Canavan each scored eight. Selyukova and Peters canned critical free throws during crunch time and Canavan scored what proved to be the game-winning bucket with a minute left.
Justina Bancock scored 10 for the losers and Carrie Gehring added 11 and contributed 16 rebounds. The game was played at Northport High School.
Just minutes after the final buzzer in the Class C game Hampton Bays took the floor against Mattituck with the County B title on the line. The Baywomen fought off a game Mattituck team but prevailed, 58-44, but it was a lot closer than that: the two teams were tied at the half, and the Baywomen were up by one after three quarters.
The Lady Tuckers would have likely pulled off the upset had it not been for Alexis Fotopoulos, Hampton Bays' all-Long Island candidate. She went off for 33 and had a hand in four other baskets. For the season the senior averaged 21.8 points, seventh highest in the county.
Liz Dwyer scored 13 and Shannon Dwyer 10 for Mattituck. The Baywomen not only earned a berth in the state B tournament, but a matchup with Pierson/Bridgehampton Saturday for the County BCD title. As expected Hampton Bays rolled, 62-35, running the team's season record to 19-2. Fotopoulos tallied 14 and added five assists before taking her place on the bench for a much-needed rest. Hannah Reed led all scorers with 15 and Haley Wood notched 10. Selyukova led Pierson with 14. Hampton Bays played Harborfields Monday for the County ABCD (Small Schools) Championship.
Both teams were scheduled to return to St. Josephs yesterday for the regional semifinals. Pierson played the Section VII C representative, and Hampton Bays played the winner of that section's B title game. The winners advance to the girls' regional finals Saturday in New Rochelle.