They don’t grow ’em big in Riverhead.
That’s the joke that goes around in Riverhead High School boys basketball circles. Historically, Riverhead is not known for producing really tall players.
Central Islip, on the other hand, well, that’s a different story.
Height may not be everything, but it sure helps to have it, especially when a team has players who know how to use it like Central Islip does.
Scan the Central Islip roster and you will see 6-foot-9 Christopher Volo, 6-6 Christian Cherry and a pair of 6-4 players in Michael Hennie and Ryan Beckles. Altogether, the Musketeers have eight players 6-1 or taller.
That’s what Riverhead had to contend with on Tuesday. It wasn’t easy.
Riverhead’s tallest players are Rich Lucas and Quashiem Miller. They are both 6-3.
With talent to match its size, Central Islip seized control early on, built a 30-7 lead and handed host Riverhead its ninth straight loss, 78-35.
One of Central Islip’s shorter players, 6-0 Darryan Fuentes, led the way with 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field. Beckles produced nine points while Cherry and Volo had eight each. In addition, Beckles had seven assists.
Thirteen Central Islip players made it into the scoring column as the Musketeers (11-6, 7-4 Suffolk County League II) clinched a playoff berth.
The playoffs will not be happening for Riverhead (2-15, 0-11), which was led by sophomore guard Christian Pace’s 13 points.
Central Islip took the ball to the hoop for high-percentage shots and finished at a high percentage: 50.8. Riverhead, struggling to find shooting room under a forest of arms and bodies, shot 21.8 percent from the field.
Photo caption: Riverhead guard Christian Pace (13 points) found himself at a size disadvantage against a pair of Central Islip defenders. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)