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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Basketball

Erica Selyukova, Kasey Gilbride help Pierson-Bridgehampton claim Class C title

Pierson teammates celebrate with their championship hardware after

Pierson teammates celebrate with their championship hardware after the game Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Erica Selyukova, you and the Pierson-Bridgehampton basketball team just won the Suffolk Class C championship. What are you going to do now?

"I'm going to Trampoline World!"

It's not quite Orlando, but a fitting celebration, after the Whalers bounced back from a dismal start and rallied to beat Southold-Greenport, 54-49, Tuesday at Northport.

Kasey Gilbride tied the score on a spectacular reverse layup with 2:09 remaining, and Isabel Peters' free throw 10 seconds later gave Pierson a 50-49 lead as it held on for its first title since 2000.

"The fact that we hadn't won in so long and the way we finished this off, it's even more rewarding," Gilbride said. "Everyone on this team has the will to win and showed it."

The top-seeded Whalers trailed for most of the game -- down as many as 12 in the first half -- but finished with a 13-2 run.

Selyukova did some trampolining on the court, jumping for 17 rebounds and five blocks to go with 12 points for the Whalers (13-6). Gilbride scored six of her 13 points in the fourth.

Those two "are no strangers to coming up big," coach Kevin Barron said. They led Pierson's field hockey team to its first state championship last fall -- a run, coincidentally, filled with late rallies.

"Our motto this season has been 'all in,' and we always have the confidence to believe we'll come back," said Selyukova, a 5-10 center.

May Evjen scored nine points, Bridget Canavan eight points and eight rebounds, and Peters added eight points for Pierson, which faces Hampton Bays in the B/C game on Saturday.

Justina Babcock had 12 points for No. 3 Southold. The Whalers switched to man defense in the second half to contain their opponent's outside shooting. The Settlers had five threes early, but none in the second half.

Pierson pulled within 42-41 on Canavan's jumper with 1:33 left in the third, but Southold (5-13) responded with a 5-0 run. Gilbride tied it at 47 with free throws midway through the fourth, but Carrie Gehring (11 points) came back with two free throws shortly thereafter.

That set up Gilbride's highlight-reel layup. Selyukova later hit Canavan on a long outlet pass for a layup with 11 seconds remaining, making it 52-49 and giving Canavan "the most memorable moment of my career."

And just like that, after years of disappointments and early playoff exits, the Whalers sprung into the upper echelon.

"Trampolining will be fun," Selyukova said with a grin. "Just bouncing for a while with no worries . . . because we're champions."

Jump for joy.

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