December 06, 2006

Whalers Have a Wealth of Talent

Senior All-League center Naqueeta Briggs leads a Pierson team that has quickly become the talk of League VIII after adding a pair of mega-talented transfers this past off season.

Briggs, who stands 6'1, averaged 15.8 points per game to lead the Lady Whalers last season and was the second leading scorer in the league. She is a tenacious, swarming defender who registered a Suffolk County record 17 blocked shots in a game last season. There isn't a more dominating player in the league than Briggs when she's on top of her game.

"The first goal is to make the playoffs," said head coach Dennis Case. "I'd like to see us in the county championship, but it's not going to be easy. Stony Brook returns the whole lineup and Shelter Island looks good too. We're a little more solid at guard this season and I'm hoping to get the fast break going. We lost two key players to graduation and we'll miss them, but I think we're going to be just as good. We'll definitely be in the mix."

Kara O'Halloran, a senior forward, is a strong rebounder and a tough defender who returns to play alongside Briggs and she'll be joined by Jocelin Kalish, a junior guard from Bridgehampton whose quickness and defensive skills are far advanced.

Sophomore transfer Katie Osiecki, from Morris (Bridgehampton), has locked up one of Pierson's starting guard positions and Case describes her as "a very strong player who is quick and has a lot of the tools."

Rounding out the Whalers' impressive starting five is eighth grade phenom Sabina Fayman, a transfer from Commack. Fayman, whose older brother Irving is a standout for Bridgehampton, is a budding star herself. "She's got it all," said Case. "She can shoot really well and can handle the ball. She has a lot of potential."

Junior Sarah Mayer, a forward who played on the varsity last year, will provide a boost off the bench.

Sophomore Gabriel Arondel, a six-foot forward who broke her hand last season and missed most of the year, is expected to be a significant contributor to the Whalers this season while up from the junior varsity is junior Katie Steyert. She'll see time at forward after finishing last season as one of the leading scorers on her team. Sophomore guard Arielle Chase provides depth off the bench.

"I have kids that want to play, and I'm really happy with the way they've been practicing," Chase remarked. "We're going to do some good things with the young kids [that we have here] and our program is moving in the right direction."

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