There was an enthusiasm in John Rossetti’s voice that said more than that his team has won five games in a row.
The Riverhead boys basketball team had just beaten Sachem North, 55-33, on Tuesday night in a Town of Brookhaven Summer League game at Riverhead High School, and Rossetti, the Blue Waves’ coach, was beaming.
Rossetti knew going in that the game was going to be a test for his team. Sachem North went into the showdown with a 5-1 record while Riverhead was 4-2. Longwood was in first place among the large schools with a 6-1 record.
But right from the start, the Blue Waves controlled this game. Riverhead, sparked by the scoring of Elwood Lamb III (22 points), Ben Edmund (14) and Tim Clement (12), built a 25-17 halftime lead and then thoroughly dominated play in the second half.
What has impressed Rossetti the most about the way his team has been playing is the way Clement and Alex Sakhno are rebounding. Riverhead outrebounded the Flaming Arrows by 32-18. As former NBA coach Pat Riley use to say, “No rebounds, no rings.”
“We’re working hard on defense,” Rossetti said. “In the past, defense has been a weakness for us. This year the kids have bought in defensively.”
Offensively, the Blue Waves are still looking to play an up-tempo style, but when the fast break isn’t there, they patiently settle down and run set plays. “This is becoming a strength for us now,” he said. “We’re getting some nice looks at the basket.”
Riverhead had won its fourth game in a row last Thursday with a 45-35 win at Newfield. Edmund paced the Blue Waves in scoring with 19 points.
Rossetti said Clement, a junior, and Sakhno, a senior, played their second strong game in a row. Both did a solid job on the boards. Lamb continues to be one of Riverhead’s most consistent players this summer.
Going into the game against Sachem North, Rossetti felt it was going to be a good test for his team. He was proud of the way the Blue Waves took care of business on both ends of the floor.
“Our team is coming together well,” he said. “We’re getting good shots and when we miss, we are scrapping for the rebounds. But we have to keep working hard. We have to continue to get better.”