02/04/14 1:31pm
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO  |  Shoreham-Wading River junior Danny Hughes scored 27 points in a win over Bayport-Blue Point Friday.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Danny Hughes scored 27 points in a Jan. 10 victory over Bayport-Blue Point. The Wildcats need another win against the Phantoms tonight to make the playoffs.

The season comes down to this. The Shoreham-Wading River boys basketball team faces a win or go home game tonight at Bayport-Blue Point in the regular season finale. (more…)

01/30/14 10:07pm
01/30/2014 10:07 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck sophomore Joe Tardif, putting up a shot while being guarded by Bishop McGann-Mercy's Greg Gehring, scored a career-high 24 points with the aid of four 3-pointers.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck sophomore Joe Tardif, putting up a shot while being guarded by Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Greg Gehring, scored a career-high 24 points with the aid of four 3-pointers.

TUCKERS 80, MONARCHS 60

The Mattituck Tuckers knew what they were up against this season in League VII. What has shaped up to be one of the toughest basketball leagues in Suffolk County is led by three powerhouses — Babylon, Center Moriches and Southampton — that are almost in a league of their own. (more…)

01/28/14 11:18pm
01/28/2014 11:18 PM

BULLS 67, BLUE WAVES 48

The Riverhead Blue Waves have come light years from their stumbling start to the high school boys basketball season, but even their improved play could not overcome the sting of knowing they were going to miss the playoffs for the first time in several years. (more…)

01/25/14 4:22pm
01/25/2014 4:22 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Dan Hughes, who scored a game-high 22 points for Shoreham-Wading River, tries to dribble around Greenport's Willie Riggins near the baseline.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Dan Hughes, who scored a game-high 22 points for Shoreham-Wading River, tries to dribble around Greenport’s Willie Riggins near the baseline.

WILDCATS 64, PORTERS 46

Difficult but doable.

That was the assessment Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Culhane gave of his boys basketball team’s chances of qualifying for the playoffs for the third time in four years. In order to do that, the Wildcats will have to win their final three Suffolk County League VI games. (more…)

01/16/14 8:19pm
01/16/2014 8:19 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Deon Shorter goes up for a contested shot Thursday against Smithtown West.

A last-second 3-pointer from Charles Manning misfired Thursday night as the Riverhead boys basketball team lost in overtime to Smithtown West, 65-63.

Brandon Tolliver led the Blue Waves with 19 points. Riverhead fell to 2-6 in League III and can only afford one more loss in league to keep postseason aspirations alive.

Three other players reached double figures Thursday. Manning and Tyrese Kerr had 12 each. Ryun Moore added 11.

The Blue Waves trailed by three in the final minute before a Tolliver 3-pointer with 25 seconds left that sent the game into overtime. Riverhead trailed by seven at halftime before outscoring the Bulls, 19-12 in the third quarter.

Smithtown (6-5, 4-3 League III) had four players in double figures, led by Tyler Weigl. Riverhead returns to action Tuesday at North Babylon.


ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTOS

01/14/14 10:29pm
01/14/2014 10:29 PM

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.”

01/10/14 7:08pm
01/10/2014 7:08 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Danny Hughes scored 27 points in a win over Bayport-Blue Point Friday.

WILDCATS 63, PHANTOMS 56

Danny Hughes is listed at 6-foot-5, the tallest player on the Shoreham-Wading River roster. By his height alone, it would seem Hughes would best be served under the rim.

But as Hughes showed Friday afternoon against Bayport-Blue Point in a pivotal League VI game, he can do a lot more than simply clog the middle. Even as the tallest player, Hughes plays more like a guard, a big-man who can dribble on the perimeter and slash to the basket. He can also hit from the outside.

Against the Phantoms, Hughes did a little of everything, pouring in a game-high 27 points in a 63-56 victory at Shoreham-Wading River High School. And since he is the big man, he grabbed 19 rebounds.

“Danny’s a mismatch for a lot of coaches,” Culhane said. “I play him like a guard and a lot of teams don’t have a guy that’s either big enough to stay with him or strong enough if I post him up inside.”

Coming off a disappointing loss to Miller Place Tuesday, the Wildcats (6-4) bounced back with a resounding victory in a game they nearly led wire-to-wire. Bayport briefly took its only lead of the game early in the third quarter at 28-27. But Shoreham answered with an 11-0 run to push the lead to double digits.

The Wildcats evened their league record at 3-3 at the midway point of the league season. If the Wildcats can at least match that record over the second half of the season, it would guarantee them a playoff spot.

The Wildcats welcomed back junior Jonah Caldwell to the lineup. A 6-foot-3 forward who adds a huge element to the Wildcats on both ends of the court, Caldwell tore a ligament in his right hand during a practice in early December. He returned to the lineup Friday and, while rusty at first, showed why he’s a huge part of Shoreham’s lineup.

Caldwell finished with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half.

Shoreham opened the game hot from the outside. The Wildcats drained four 3-pointers in the first quarter, which opened up the rest of their offense. They finished the game 19 of 43 from the field (44 percent). The Wildcats limited Bayport (8-3, 3-2 League VI) to 35 percent shooting (22 of 62).

Bayport’s Connor Panzner led the Phantoms with 26 points.