01/14/14 10:29pm

BLUE WAVES 58, LIONS 51

The Riverhead High School boys basketball team certainly lived dangerously on Tuesday night.

Every time the Blue Waves grabbed a 10-point lead, West Islip would come charging back to make it close and interesting.

But when push came to shove in the fourth quarter, they withstood a late comeback attempt by the Lions and recorded a 58-51 win in Suffolk County League III action in West Islip.

“We got that 10-point lead, it came down to six, 10, six. We couldn’t get it to 15,” coach John Rossetti said. “To their credit, they knocked down a couple of three-pointers in a row to cut it tight. You know what? We finished them off when we had to.”

Coupled with a 64-30 victory over Centereach last Thursday, the Blue Waves (3-8, 2-5) won back-to-back games for the first time this season as West Islip fell to 1-10, 1-6.

“You now what? We’ll take it,” Rossetti said. “It’s another win, another notch in our belt. It wasn’t our best effort over all, but we’re finding a way to win and that’s an improvement from earlier in the year.

“Give the kids credit. They’ve never been down on themselves. They’re continuing to work. They’re going to continue to push. It’s nice getting the two wins, don’t get me wrong, but this team knows there’s more in them.”

Especially for a young team. The Blue Waves started and finished with three sophomores.

“It’s not about sophomores, it’s about team,” Rossetti said. “There’s a lot of kids who came off the bench who gave us good, quality minutes. That’s what a team’s about.”

Still, the sophomores did make a contribution. Guard/forward Charles Manning led the way with 12 points, adding 7 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 2 steals. Forward Tyrese Kerr added 7 points and 6 rebounds. Lintell Brown came off the bench to score 9 points.

“He’s fearless,” Rossetti said of Manning. “He’s a tough ball player and he’s long. He’s deceptive.”

When he was asked about his favorite part of the game, Manning replied, “Defense, because defense wins games and often sells tickets.”

Rather than just talk about it, the 6-foot Manning demonstrated it by blocking 6-foot-5 center Bill Hellem’s shot with 1 minute 24 seconds remaining in the third quarter to preserve a 41-31 lead.

“He got up there, one that he took off the rim basically and he got another key one when they were on a two-on-one fast break and he came in and erased another shot,” Rossetti said. “That takes four points off the board. In a close ball game like that, you don’t recognize it early, but you look at it late. They were crucial plays.”

The Blue Waves led for virtually the entire game. They enjoyed a 13-3 advantage early in the second quarter before West Islip whittled it to 15-12 with 2:24 remaining. But the Blue Waves ran off an 9-0 spurt and a 14-4 tear to go into the locker room with a 29-16 lead. Brown had 5 points during that surge, which saw five Riverhead players score.

In the third quarter, West Islip came within 33-29 with 5:10 left before the Blue Waves rattled off 8 straight points — 5 on Deon Shorter’s five free throws en route to his 10-point game.

In the fourth period, the Lions made the visitors sweat a bit again, moving within 49-43 with 4:16 remaining, but the Blue Waves managed to score a couple of key baskets and sink a few foul shots down the stretch, including two by Manning to seal the game with 20 seconds remaining.

“It was pretty frustrating,” senior forward Brandon Tolliver said about Riverhead’s inability to pull away. “But we knew what we had to do defensively to try to help us hold the lead.”

Riverhead had another encouraging performance from Tolliver, who had been slowed down in his recovery from a knee injury with a knock on his left knee. He contributed 10 points, 9 rebounds and 1 blocked shot.

“I’m coming back slowly, but surely,” he said. “I feel better, feel great actually. I’m grabbing more rebounds and I feel that I’m being more active that what I was before the knock-up with my knee.”

01/06/14 10:30pm

BULLS 74, BLUE WAVES 54

Senior forward Ryan Ingarozza scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter to lift Smithtown East to a 74-54 win over host Riverhead in a Suffolk County League III boys basketball game on Monday night.

Ingarozza, who finished with 7 rebounds, helped the visitors outscore the Blue Waves, 30-10, in that period to turn a 30-19 halftime lead into a 60-29 advantage. Smithtown East improved to 6-3 over all and 4-0 in the league. The Blue Waves (1-7, 0-4) dropped their seventh consecutive game after defeating Bayport-Blue Point, 72-66, in their season opener on Dec. 9.

Senior guard Dylan Marquez connected on three treys in the third quarter and finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Sophomore Charles Manning led Riverhead with 17 points.

12/30/13 7:35pm

BLUE WAVES 47, BULLDOGS 41

As a spectator two years ago, eighth-grader Sam Dunn cheered on the Riverhead High School girls basketball team during its march to the Suffolk County Class AA championship and the state semifinals.

“I went to every game,” she said. “I used to sit in the stands and I wanted to do that one day. I wanted to be them.”

Well, Dunn is one of them today. The sophomore forward had an opportunity to perform some heroics of her own in the Blue Waves’ 47-41 girls non-league win at Lindenhurst on Monday.

Dunn scored a season-high 23 points, including 7 during a critical 36-second stretch late in the fourth quarter, to boost a young Riverhead team (3-2). She added 5 rebounds and 1 steal against Lindenhurst (1-6).

Not only has Dunn been thrust into a starting role but a leadership one as well on a team that has two eighth-graders starting at guard.

“It was a big adjustment from being a freshman last year and having all the older girls, Shanice Allen and Naysha Trent, as our role models and me just looking up to them,” she said. “Then, all of sudden I’m one of the oldest players and I have to start stepping up and leading, not relying on them anymore.”

Dunn acquitted herself quite well Monday. First, she helped Riverhead to a 13-9 first-quarter advantage with 9 points.

After eighth-grade guard Kate McCarney’s jumper from the right side broke a 31-31 tie with 4:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, Dunn boosted Riverhead’s lead to 40-33 by hitting a driving basket and a subsequent foul shot with 2:49 left and layups off some nice feeds with 2:33 and 2:13 to go.

“With a tight score like that, we’ve got to start driving to the basket,” she said.

The learning curve sometimes has been steep. But Dunn has been up to the task. She has learned “a lot about leadership, knowing that you have to step up to the plate. You don’t have to rely on anyone any more. That’s the biggest thing for me, that I can’t rely on anyone any more.”

If there was any pressure, Dunn did not show it during crunch time. She also sank 11 of 13 foul shots.

“She’s lethal from the free-throw line,” coach David Spinella said.

Spinella knows that he has some talent to nurture and realizes that he can’t expect giant steps overnight. But he has seen progress.

“They’re going great,” he said. “Every day we’re getting better. We’re working on things. We’re learning to play in game situations. I just have to be patient and understand that it doesn’t matter what our record is at the end of the season, as long as we are getting better every day because pretty much everybody comes back.”

Dunn understands what eighth-grade guards Kim Ligon, Faith Johnson-DeSilvia and McCarney are going through because she was in a similar spot last year.

“I was very nervous all the time and the younger players are experiencing the same thing,” she said. “I have to just suck it all up when they’re down and start playing more.”

These youngsters have gotten better.

“There’s been a big improvement, especially with the younger guards having to step up,” Dunn said. “Even one of the younger girls said, ‘Every day I’m getting more confident, every time I step [onto the court], every practice, every game.’ ”

As well as Dunn played, the Blue Waves were far from a one-young-woman show. Another sophomore forward, 6-foot Dezarae Brown, enjoyed an outstanding game under the basket at both ends, snaring a game-high 15 rebounds and adding 8 points. Senior guard Carolyn Carrera, better known for her heroics as a lacrosse goal-scorer and soccer goalkeeper, came off the bench to help limit sharp-shooter Alexis Perdue to 9 points in the second half after scoring 14 in the first half.

Johnson-DeSilvia also a reserve, hit a trey and sank three free throws in the final 63 seconds.

“I just love it. Basketball is my whole entire life,” Dunn said. “I love being out there with the girls. Whether we win or lose, it’s how hard you work at the end of the day and that’s what matters.”

But winning isn’t too shabby, either.

Perhaps this new generation can emulate the 2012 Blue Waves.

“Maybe in a couple of years,” Dunn said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”

12/27/13 8:08pm

FLAMING ARROWS 69, BLUE WAVES 63

Riverhead battled back from an early 14-point deficit to grab a 4-point advantage in the fourth quarter, but could not hold on en route to a 69-63 home loss to Sachem North in a non-league boys basketball game on Friday night.

Senior Deon Shorter came off the bench to lead the Blue Waves (1-4) with 17 points, followed by sophomore Charles Manning’s 14 points. Manning scored 13 of his points in the third quarter.

The Blue Waves grabbed a 53-49 lead 1 minute 50 seconds into the final period, but Sachem North (2-4) went on a 20-17 spurt to pull away.

Sachem North had four players in double figures. Senior guard James Bassford, who sank all five of his 3-point attempts in the first half, canned four foul shots over the final 43.3 seconds to keep the hosts at arm’s length. Bassford led the visitors with 22 points. Nakhari Nelson and Blake Thompson contributed 14 points apiece and Anthony Service added 11.

Riverhead next hosts Sachem East in a non-league game on Monday.

11/01/13 6:00pm

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop saw her four-year varsity career come to an end Friday in the semifinals of the Class A playoffs.

CLASS A SEMIFINALS  |  GOLDEN FLASHES 1, WILDCATS 0

Junior Jessica O’Shaughnessy scored in the 30th minute to lift top-seeded Sayville to a 1-0 victory over Shoreham-Wading River in the Suffolk County Class A girls semifinals at Depot Field in Sayville on Friday afternoon.

The win boosted Sayville into the county finals against No. 2 Islip at the Dowling Soccer Complex at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The loss ended the fifth-seeded Wildcats’ most successful season since 2006 at 10-4, while the Golden Flash improved to 13-2.

On Tuesday, SWR defeated Bayport-Blue Point, 1-0, in a first-round game.

O’Shaughnessy latched onto a pass from senior Michelle Civitella and rolled in a shot to the lower left corner past goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop for the game’s lone goal.

The Wildcats tried to equalize, but a stout Sayville backline limited the visitors to any dangerous opportunities.

Shoreham finished the season allowing only six total goals.

10/26/13 8:14pm
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead's Rahemm Brown, left, and Ryan Harkin wrap up West Islip's Max McNichols for a loss.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead’s Raheem Brown, left, and Ryan Harkin wrap up West Islip’s Max McNichols for a loss.

BLUE WAVES 33, LIONS 21

Senior running back Jeremiah Cheatom ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns to spark Riverhead to a 33-21 victory over West Islip in a Suffolk County Division II football game at Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon.

The win solidified the Blue Waves’ prospects of hosting at least one game in the upcoming playoffs, which are to begin on the weekend of Nov. 9.

The first half was a see-saw battle.

Riverhead (6-1) grabbed a 7-0 lead on Darren Jefferson’s 30-yard touchdown reception and Dylan Pace’s’ point after with 3 minutes 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but West Islip (5-2) tied it on quarterback Sam Iliaro’s one-yard run and Liam O’Donnell’s ensuing PAT 29 seconds into the second period.

The Blue Waves retook the lead on Cheatom’s 48-yard scoring run on the next possession with 9:47 remaining in the half, but could only extend the margin to 13-7 as Pace failed to convert the extra point.

Iliaro’s 20-yard TD run and O’Donnell’s point after boosted the visitors into a 14-13 halftime lead.

Senior quarterback Cody Smith’s three-yard run and sophomore running back Ryun Moore’s successful two-point run lifted the Blue Waves into a 21-14 advantage they would not relinquish with 5:15 left in the third quarter.

Cheatom, who carried the ball 36 times, including on 23 occasions in the second half, sandwiched a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs around a West Islip score. He ran in from 12 yards with 10:15 remaining and from five yards with 4:09 left.

Iliaro had a one-yard run for West Islip with 7:03 to go in the game. The Blue Waves finish their regular season next week at Newfield, 22-8 winners over Central Islip on Saturday.

10/21/13 10:25pm
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | After scoring Riverhead's fourth goal against Centereach, Jayson Set, left, is congratulated by Karol Birycki.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | After scoring Riverhead’s fourth goal against Centereach, Jayson Set, left, is congratulated by Karol Birycki.

BLUE WAVES 4, COUGARS 0

As the Riverhead boys soccer team was putting the finishing touches to an impressive 4-0 victory over visiting Centereach on Monday, the sun set majestically in the west.

Blue Waves coach Lamine Traore fears the same could be said about his improved team as the regular season nears an end.

During the past several weeks, Riverhead has been among the hottest teams, going 5-1-1 in its last seven games. Unfortunately, that is not enough to boost the Blue Waves into the Suffolk County Class AA Tournament because teams need to finish .500 or higher in their league to qualify for the postseason.

The Blue Waves improved to 5-7-1 in League III and overall with the regular-season finale looming at West Islip on Wednesday.

“We deserve to make the playoffs,” said junior midfielder/forward Anthony Antunes, whose 10th-minute goal sparked the Blue Waves. “I was just told if we win on Wednesday, there might be a chance to go to the playoffs.”

Maybe, maybe not.

If the Blue Waves defeat West Islip and finish at 6-7-1, they could petition county soccer officials to enter the tournament based on their record and recent performances.

Traore admitted that he hadn’t thought of that possibility, but certainly wouldn’t dismiss it.

“If it’s possible, why not?” he said. “We have a shot. These are the teams. We can compete against them. If they need another team, I think we should be out there.”

Traore had no doubts about the great strides his team has made.

“Our program is different from other programs,” he said. “They are able to keep their players together almost the year round. We get the chance to get these kids about two months. To build a team, it takes more than two months. Since we have come here, the end of the season has been better for us. At the beginning, the chemistry is not there, the fitness is not there. As we go, the chemistry starts coming, the fitness gets along and we start battling against these teams.”

The Blue Waves put everything together Monday on both ends of the field against Centereach (2-13, 2-11). Kevin Elejalde, Jayson Set and Victor Guazhambo also scored and a solid defense helped goalkeeper Ryan DiResta (7 saves) recorded a clean sheet.

Traore said it was one of the best performances of the season, that a 1-1 tie with Smithtown West was No. 1. Smithtown West had several players on Smithtown Arsenal, which captured the under-16 boys national youth title this summer.

Afterwards Traore congratulated his players on another home victory and explained how they can translate that success to the road.

“The passion that we have here on our field, let’s see if we can have it on Wednesday when we are away,” he told his team. “You can make the away field your home field playing. Bring the same intensity, you will see how easy the game can be for you. Good job.”

The same could be said about how Riverhead scored its first goal. The Blue Waves cleared a corner kick. The ball came to Antunes and he bolted down the left side, from box to box before unleashing a 20-yard shot past goalkeeper Rob Retnauer to the lower right corner.

“All I saw was the goal,” Antunes said. “I had a couple of players in front of me. As soon as I passed the first one, I knew. All I knew I had an eye for goal. I was going straight for goal, no matter who was in my way.”

The goal lifted the Blues Waves’ spirits.

“It motivated us,” Elejalde said. “That’s why we won, 4-0. We played our game.”

It certainly motivated Elejalde, who headed home an 18-yard shot for a 2-0 lead with 21:34 remaining in the half.

With 12:57 left in the half, Guazhambo converted a rebound to raise the margin to 3-0 before Set closed out the scoring with 30:24 remaining in the game.

“We communicated well,” Elejalde said. “We made a lot of passes. We played beautiful. We should have played like this throughout the whole season. This was our best game, definitely.”

The Blue Waves hope to have a few more opportunities to duplicate that in the coming weeks.

10/15/13 8:21pm
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Aimee Manfredo said her backhand was the MVP of her strokes Tuesday when she won her third Division IV singles title.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Aimee Manfredo said her backhand was the MVP of her strokes Tuesday when she won her third Division IV singles title.

DIVISION IV INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

They don’t give out any trophies or medals for winning the Suffolk County Division IV girls tennis singles title, but Aimee Manfredo did bring home some intriguing spoils of victory Tuesday: the draw sheet of the tournament and a bag of candy corn — her favorite candy — given to her by her teammates.

“I have the draw sheets from every time I’ve won,” the three-time division champion said. “So it’s a nice little memory.”

Manfredo certainly also brought home some nice memories from William Floyd High School, as the Shoreham-Wading River senior culminated a brilliant tournament and performance with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Eastport/South Manor’s Jackie Bukzin. In her five tourney matches, Manfredo lost only four games.

Shoreham coach Debbie Lutjen called the win “very efficient. Awesome. Very few mistakes throughout the whole match. She kept herself in control the entire match.”

While she savored winning another league crown, Manfredo realized that she had yet another challenge looming over the horizon — the county championships at Smithtown East High School on Saturday and Monday.

“I think I’m going to rest tonight and then get back because I need to eat my candy corn, so I don’t think I should eat it and play tennis.” she said. “I’ll definitely be back [Wednesday].”

And then Manfredo will set her sights on winning her first county title. She reached the final last year.

“I expect a tougher draw because … [the division tournament] wasn’t really competition until the semis and finals,” she said. “That’s when I was really focused and tried to play my best tennis. I expect the counties will be every single match you will have to play your best match to get there. I really just have to hope that I am on my game that day.”

So does Lutjen, who has high hopes for Manfredo.

“Playing the way she played today, the sky’s the limit,” Lutjen said. “If she plays like this, she’s as good as anyone out there. She’s really playing well. She’s playing the best tennis of her career right now. That’s what you want. You want to be peaking at the right time going into the tournament. She’s playing with confidence and playing with a lot of maturity and control.”

Manfredo demonstrated that Tuesday, breaking Bukzin’s service four times.

“I played really well,” she said. “I warmed up really well. I felt I was hitting the ball great. Then I got into the match and I was so nervous because the last match I played against her went to three sets. It was: ‘Oh my gosh. It was going to be tough.’ I just came off hitting well on both sides. Nothing bothered me. In my last match, I had some issues. If I lost a game, I would be like, ‘Oh my God, you’re going to lose.’ But today, I don’t even remembering those two games. I just forgot about everything and played my game.”

The key to Manfredo’s game was a strong backhand.

“I loved my backhand today,” she said. “I think that was the MVP of my strokes. My backhand was really solid today and she tried to attack it. But I just got it back every single time. My forehand, I made more errors off of it, although I was winning points. I just felt more solid off my backhand and I could hit like 100 shots in a row. Hit it to my backhand, I’m hitting it back.”

In the doubles consolation match, Bishop McGann-Mercy coach Mike Clauberg found himself in the enviable and unique position of watching an encounter between a pair of friends and teammates from his own school. The M&Ms — Shannon Merker and Delaney Macchirole — defeated Z-squared — Jackie Zaweski and Micaela Zebroski, 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s great,” he said. “I’m just happy that we have four All-County selections, which I believe is the first time in school history. Both teams played really well today.”