11/02/14 8:00am
11/02/2014 8:00 AM

A last-second blocked field goal carried Riverhead to a thrilling 9-7 win over previously unbeaten Bellport Saturday. The Blue Waves closed the regular season in Division II at 6-2 to finish in third place in the power rankings.

Bellport, despite the loss, will still hang on to the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs. The Clippers finished just ahead of Half Hollow Hills West for the top spot in the power rankings. Both teams were 7-1.  (more…)

11/01/14 5:35pm
11/01/2014 5:35 PM
Riverhead celebrates after Bellport's Nick Founts (#12) has his last second field goal attempt blocked by Troy Trent (#77.) (Credit: Daniel DeMato)

Riverhead celebrates after Bellport’s Nick Founts (#12) has his last second field goal attempt blocked by Troy Trent (#77.) (Credit: Daniel DeMato)

BLUE WAVES 9, CLIPPERS 7

Soaking wet and shivering with mud splattered on his face, Raheem Brown had one final duty before he could finally retreat to a warm bus. Standing on the field, he answered reporters’ questions and spoke about what he and his Riverhead High School football teammates had just done: hand rival Bellport its first loss of the season.

It is because of Riverhead that Bellport will not enter the playoffs unbeaten. And it is because of Brown — not to mention a big helping hand from Troy Trent — that the Blue Waves were able to persevere under extremely difficult conditions. (more…)

09/19/14 5:00am
09/19/2014 5:00 AM
Andrew Hubner of Shoreham-Wading River High School, physics teacher Andrew Kolchin, Asia McElroy from Riverhead High School and former Riverhead High School student Phil Becker of Bay Shore do some experiments with Newtown's Cradle Friday at BOCES' new Regional STEM high school in Bellport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Andrew Hubner of Shoreham-Wading River High School, physics teacher Andrew Kolchin, Asia McElroy from Riverhead High School and former Riverhead High School student Phil Becker of Bay Shore do some experiments with Newton’s Cradle Friday at BOCES’ new Regional STEM high school in Bellport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Any regular consumer of news beyond the local level won’t find it shocking to hear that the United States has fallen behind many other developed countries in science and technology achievement.  (more…)

12/07/13 2:09pm
12/07/2013 2:09 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Courtney Clasen turned in an all-around performance for Shoreham-Wading River with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Courtney Clasen turned in an all-around performance for Shoreham-Wading River with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists.

CLIPPERS 47, WILDCATS 38

Christmas music played during breaks in play, lending a festive atmosphere to the non-league high school girls basketball game between Bellport and Shoreham-Wading River on Saturday. But Bellport’s standout player, Arella Guirantes, had added reason to be of good cheer.

It isn’t often when Guirantes feels uncomfortable on a basketball court, but that was the case for the junior guard for several minutes early in the fourth quarter when the spotlight was figuratively cast on her, and her alone.

Guirantes sank a free throw 16 seconds into the fourth quarter of the game at Shoreham-Wading River High School to become the third player in Bellport history to reach the 1,000-point mark. The game was stopped and her achievement was announced on the public-address system. One of the Shoreham players, Shannon Rosati, hugged Guirantes, who was presented with flowers and the game ball that she held as she posed for photographs. She was all smiles.

Afterward, Guirantes had an awful lot to smile about. Having entered the season-opening game needing 24 points to reach 1,000, the player with the smooth shooting touch struck for 35 points. No other Bellport player scored more than 4 points. Guirantes shot 10 of 19 from the field, 2 of 5 from 3-point range and made 13 of 15 foul shots.

And yet, that wasn’t nearly all she did. Guirantes, a productive player, also accounted for 17 rebounds, 7 blocks, 4 steals and 2 assists. Talk about putting in a full day’s work.

Guirantes, who as a sophomore became the third Bellport player to be named to Newsday’s All-Long Island team, has received about a dozen scholarship offers from colleges, according to her coach, Rodney O’Neal. She showed her quality against the Wildcats, who marked a milestone of their own with the varsity coaching debut of Adam Lievre, who was formerly Shoreham’s junior varsity coach.

Try as they did, the Wildcats couldn’t stop Guirantes, who was guarded by Jessica McCormack, but often faced double- and even triple-team attention when she had the ball in her hands.

Guirantes scored Bellport’s first 15 points. By halftime she had already scored 17 points and her 1,000th point seemed a virtual certainty.

Bellport, which held the lead since early in the second quarter, outrebounded the Wildcats by 38-20, and 16-6 on the offensive end. Maame Amankwah pulled in 9 of those rebounds before fouling out with 41.8 seconds left in the game. Earlier in the quarter, her teammate Nicole Powell had picked up her fifth personal foul as a result of a technical foul.

Shoreham’s biggest issue, it seemed, was shooting. The Wildcats shot 30.4 percent from the field and 10 of 22 from the foul line.

It didn’t help Shoreham’s cause that it played without one of its regular starters, senior forward Taylor Whiffen, who was taking a Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The Wildcats did have Courtney Clasen, the talented junior guard/forward who totaled 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists. Rosati chipped in 11 points.

Both teams endured a scare with 32.7 seconds remaining when Bellport’s Haley Wagner and Shoreham’s Alex Hutchins and Clasen met in a violent collision while racing for a loose ball. Clasen, who took a head to the neck from Hutchins, remained on the floor for a while along with Wagner. Both players walked off and were later said to be fine.

bliepa@timesreview.com

04/14/13 11:00am
04/14/2013 11:00 AM

HENRY BROWN

A level-2 sex offender living in Riverhead was arrested this week after failing to verify his new address with the state, Suffolk County Police said.

Henry Brown, 55, was arrested at the Seventh Precinct in Shirley on Thursday after changing his address without notifying the state within 10 days, police said.

This is the second time Mr. Brown has been arrested for failing to register, police said.

Mr. Brown was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse involving a 9-year-old female in 1994, a class D felony, according to the state’s sex offender registry.

Level-2 offenders are deemed to have a moderate risk of repeat offense, according to state law.

County police said Mr. Brown has been residing in Riverhead, though the address listed in the state’s sex offender registry is in Bellport.

02/15/13 2:14pm
02/15/2013 2:14 PM
Drive-by shooting suspects

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTOS | Eric Baldwin Jr., Jasmine Parsons and Jeffrey Despeine.

A mother sobbed in court as she watched her 21-year-old son, wearing a green jumpsuit with his hands cuffed in front of him, appear before a Riverhead judge Friday to answer to felony gun charges.

Her son, Jeffrey Despeines of Centereach, is one of four people accused of shooting up a Third Street house that was filled with adults and two small children Wednesday night.

A woman who identified herself as a close friend of another suspect, Jasmine Parsons, also sat in the audience.

“She’s a good person. She’s loving. She has a job,” the woman told a reporter. “She just got caught up in the wrong situation with the wrong people.”

Three of the four suspects, Mr. Despeines; Ms. Parsons, 19, of Mastic; and Eric Baldwin Jr., 18, of Bellport; appeared in Town Justice Court for continued arraignment proceedings Friday, a day after bail was initially set for them Thursday.

The fourth suspect, Jordan Harrell, 18, of Medford will be back in court Tuesday.

The three suspects were not required to enter a plea on their felony charges. A Suffolk County grand jury will be reviewing the case Tuesday, Feb. 19, prosecutors said.

Mr. Baldwin pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.

Prosecutors said Mr. Despeines was the shooter in the drive-by, allegedly firing seven rounds into the two-family house. He was charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment, all felonies.

His bail, originally set at $250,000 cash or $750,000 bond on Thursday, was modified to $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond Friday after a lawyer argued on his behalf.

The court-appointed attorney, Carl Irace of East Hampton, said Mr. Despeines has no prior criminal record.

“He has a very concerned family, and a impeccable work record,” Mr. Irace told a reporter after court.

Mr. Baldwin was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony, for his alleged involvement in the shooting, along with the misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon charge because police say they found brass knuckles on him.

His lawyer told the judge Mr. Baldwin has “strong ties to the community” and works full-time at a thrift store

Mr. Baldwin was held on $100,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond. Justice Smith modified his bond to $200,000, leaving cash bail set at $100,000.

Assistant district attorney William Nash had argued the bail amounts set Thursday should stay in place, due to the charges’ “serious nature,” adding also that some of the suspects are believed to have gang affiliations.

Ms. Parsons’ waived her right to appear in court Friday, said her attorney, Daniel Barker of Riverhead, saying he wanted the opportunity to speak with Ms. Parsons in private first.

He did not ask for a bail modification.

Although all four suspects appeared in court Thursday, authorities had not yet found lawyers to represent all of them during the initial proceedings.

cmiller@timesreview.com

07/06/11 12:59am
07/06/2011 12:59 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Bitzer, shown floating a shot beyond the reach of Bellport's Tom Bell, is one of Riverhead's seven varsity veterans.

The Riverhead Blue Waves have no shortage of varsity experience. At the same time, there are plenty of positions to be won, and that leaves no shortage of incentive.

Some of the Riverhead basketball players have started some games for the school team, too, but that team’s coach, John Rossetti, suggested it might be unwise to read too much into the 2010-11 season. “The better way to say it is we have five open [starting] positions,” he said. “You can’t live in the past.”

That brings us to the present Blue Waves, who are honing their skills in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League. Among those in the starting lineup in Riverhead’s 45-38 loss to the Bellport Clippers on Tuesday night at Riverhead High School were four players who were on the school’s varsity team last season — Ryan Bitzer, Tim Clement, Quinn Funn and Brandon Tolliver (Jaron Greenidge was the other starter). The three others with a varsity background are Jake Maccagli, Reggie Moore and Stevie Johnson.

The Blue Waves say they have chemistry. Their summer league coach, Elwood Lamb, said he wants his players to work at limiting turnovers, bringing the ball upcourt under pressure, and rebounding.

They received mixed reviews in those areas Tuesday, when Bellport (2-1) closed out the game with a paralyzing 17-2 run during which they took the lead for the third and final time. Armond Correa registered 13 points during that spurt.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Tim Clement was in foul trouble almost the entire game, finishing with seven points and one rebound before fouling out with 8.2 seconds left.

Riverhead (1-2) led by as many as eight points right before that decisive final phase of the game.

With a significant disparity in fouls (Riverhead was charged with 22 to nine for Bellport), the Clippers would have won by a larger margin had they hit more of their free throws. Correa sank 12 of 17 free throws, but his teammates went 3 for 16 from the foul line.

One of Riverhead’s big rebounders, the 6-foot-4 Clement, was in foul trouble virtually from the start. He ended up fouling out with 8.2 seconds to go and seven points and one rebound listed next to his name.

Bellport limited Riverhead to only four offensive rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Clippers’ offense relied almost exclusively on Correa and William Edwards to handle their scoring. They accounted for 40 of their side’s 45 points, scoring 20 apiece. Edwards played a tremendous game. The senior also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Another Bellport player, Frank D’Amadeo, didn’t score, but he did have five assists, four steals and two rebounds.

Funn led Riverhead with nine points and four assists. Ryan Schroeher, a 6-4 junior who played for the junior varsity team last season, provided energy, as well as six points and six rebounds, off the bench.

“He’s a hard worker,” Lamb said of Schroeher. “When he gets in the game, he gives it his all, no matter what time he gets, he goes in there, he rebounds, he scraps, he’s on the floor. He’s a tough-nosed kid that plays good basketball. He’s not polished on offense, but he does all the dirty work on defense.”

Funn said the team is a little faster than it was last season, and determined to reach the playoffs in the coming school season.

“The summer league is just for chemistry and to get all of the kinks out before the regular [school] season,” he said. “Since last year we hustle more. We’re down and gritty with defense.”

The team’s commitment to defense is one of the things that has encouraged Lamb.

“They really get after it on defense,” he said. “We rely on defense. When you have kids who work hard and they’re scrappy, their defense turns into offense.”

Yes, the summer league is a help, providing players with games in which to fine-tune their skills two nights a week. However, Lamb said, “the true work is the other five days when they’re not here. What are they doing the other five days? Are they lifting weights? Are they dribbling? Are they shooting?”

As Schroeher sees it, they’re getting better. “Look out for us this year,” he said. “We’re coming.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

05/18/11 10:46am
05/18/2011 10:46 AM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | James Porco and his Riverhead teammates need to take two games from Riverhead in order to gain entry into the playoffs.

Rob Maccone had been through this drill before.

The Riverhead Blue Waves had fallen behind to the Bellport Clippers in the first inning, 1-0, on Monday.

“Guys, you’ve got them right where you want them,” the Riverhead coach told his team.

But not before the Blue Waves fell behind, 8-3, and not before Riverhead rallied for an improbable 11-10 victory in the Suffolk County League IV game to keep its baseball playoffs quest alive.

“It was amazing. I was shocked,” Maccone said. “It looked like we were out of the playoffs. The kids fought back. … We just lucked out in the end. We were down 8-3 and we got hit after hit after hit.”

The Blue Waves (9-9. 8-8) must win its final two games of the regular season against Bellport to clinch a postseason spot. Bellport (9-8, 9-7) needs to win one of the two games to get in. Both games will be played at the Moriches Complex on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We have a shot,” Maccone said. “It’s not going to be easy, especially because Bellport needs one to win. It’s going to be a dogfight.”

Riverhead has left little room for error.

“We backed ourselves in the corner,” Maccone said. “There’s a couple of games we should have won.”

Maccone mentioned losses to the Comsewogue Warriors, the West Babylon Eagles and the Half Hollow Hills West Colts.

“They kind of kick us in the butt right now,” he said. “It is what it is and the kids are having fun. They’re trying hard and we’ll see what happens.”

Maccone planned to use Matt Crohan on Wednesday, assuming the weather complies. If the Blue Waves are still alive, the coach said he would piece together pitchers for Thursday’s game.

“Everyone’s available but Matt,” he said. “He will [go] close to 80 to 100 pitches, so he will not be available, but everyone else is. If it’s for one out, it’s for one out. If it’s for two innings, it’s for two innings. We’ll figure it out.”

The Blue Waves were in a position to reach the playoffs thanks to their Monday heroics. Riverhead rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning — highlighted by Jon Tucci’s and Jordan Demchuk’s run-scoring triples — to grab a 9-8 advantage. But Bellport staged a rally of its own on Anthony Allegretti’s two-out, two-run triple in the seventh to take the lead.

With Tucci and Jamie Fox on base, Tucci hit the ball back to pitcher Ryan Flaherty, who overthrew first base. Both base runners came around to score, putting an exclamation point on a wild finish.

Maccone estimated Riverhead has battled back from deficits six times this season. “It tells me that they don’t give up and they don’t quit,” he said.

Of course, Maccone wouldn’t mind if the Blue Waves was not so dramatic.

“It’s a good thing that we come back, but it’s a little nerve-wracking,” he said. “You’re down and later in the game you find a way to win. The first four innings, my heart is in my throat.

“My guys have trouble in the first four innings. I don’t know why. Maybe they need to see the pitcher longer before they get comfortable. The first three innings are usually the roughest.”