01/22/15 7:23pm
01/22/2015 7:23 PM
Riverhead guard Faith Johnson-DeSilvia drives to the basket Thursday against Hills West. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Riverhead guard Faith Johnson-DeSilvia drives to the basket Thursday against Hills West. (Credit: Bill Landon)

BLUE WAVES 64, COLTS 33

As Sam Dunn put it, the Blue Waves had to take their lumps last year. On a team that featured three eighth-graders playing prominent minutes, some difficult stretches were expected.

But that was last year.

This year? Well, the eighth-graders are still only freshmen, but that extra year experience has proved to make a world of difference.  (more…)

01/13/15 10:18pm
01/13/2015 10:18 PM
Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen scored 24 points in the Wildcats' win Tuesday against Bayport-Blue Point. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen scored 24 points in the Wildcats’ win Tuesday against Bayport-Blue Point. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

WILDCATS 43, PHANTOMS 31

The stress of choosing a college can be intense for any high school student. Add in the wrinkle of playing a sport in college, and it can be doubly as stressful.

For Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen, before narrowing down her choices, she first needed to decide which sport she wanted to play. Basketball? Soccer? Maybe even track?

She ultimately settled on basketball, and after a busy summer playing AAU, she was primed for a big season in her final year for the Wildcats. Then in the team’s first game, an ankle injury left her hobbling, and possibly out for an extended period of time.

But Clasen quickly bounced back, returning to the court much sooner than expected. And the Wildcats are thankful to have their all-county forward in the lineup.

Clasen dodged a bullet by avoiding an extended absence, and last week, she could finally take a deep breath when she made a verbal commitment to attend Coastal Carolina University, a Division I school in South Carolina.

“I can just have fun now,” Clasen said. “The stress is almost gone.”

Clasen can officially sign a National Letter of Intent on April 15, the start of the regular signing period that ends May 20 for Division I.

On Tuesday against Bayport-Blue Point, Clasen gave a glimpse of what kind of a player Coastal Carolina will be getting. She sliced through the Phantoms’ defense on fast breaks, scoring on some, dishing nifty passes to her teammates on others. She was a menace on defense, tally 11 steals and blocking five shots. And she showed a developing outside shot, sinking a pair of 3-pointers as part of her game-high 24 points.

The Wildcats led start-to-finish in a 43-31 victory at Shoreham-Wading River High School that brings the team to 4-2 at the midway point of the league season.

The Wildcats ran out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back despite an overall poor shooting night. The Wildcats had plenty of shots, thanks in part to a huge rebounding advantage, but often couldn’t find the bottom of the net. The Wildcats shot 25 percent from the field, connecting on 18 of 71 shots.

“I said to them at halftime, we’re passing the ball well, we’re driving the ball, we’re moving the ball well, we’re getting second looks and third looks,” said Shoreham coach Adam Lievre. “At some point, we just got try to knock them in.”

Clasen was the only Shoreham player with more than 4 points. Four different players scored four: Maria Smith, Sophie Triandifils, Jess McCormack and Christina Iannacchino.

The Wildcats will have a few days off now before returning to action Saturday at home against East Hampton to begin the second half of the league schedule.

joew@timesreview.com

01/04/15 12:00pm
01/04/2015 12:00 PM
Riverhead girls coach Dave Spinella goes over instructions with the Blue Waves at practice. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead girls coach Dave Spinella and his team at a practice earlier this season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

The best in people can emerge during trying times.

I have known Dave Spinella for a dozen years or so. I have seen him develop players, make them better, prepare them for the varsity level and assemble winning girls basketball teams for Riverhead High School. I have seen him win the right way, with class. I have seen him handle defeat with dignity.

And yet, for all he has done as a coach on the basketball court, Spinella’s shining moment, for me, came the day after Christmas when he issued a public apology for making public comments critical of his team following a loss. (more…)

12/26/14 5:38pm
12/26/2014 5:38 PM

Dave Spinella on the sideline during a 2012 game. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Dave Spinella on the sideline during a 2012 game. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Dave Spinella said he is sorry. He is not sorry for what he said; he is sorry for who he said it to.

Riverhead High School’s girls basketball coach issued a mea culpa the day after Christmas. In what amounts to a public apology to his players and their parents, Spinella said he was wrong to state in a postgame interview that his players lacked heart. (more…)

12/22/14 5:37pm
12/22/2014 5:37 PM
One of Riverhead's starting freshmen, Faith Johnson-DeSilvia, brought the Blue Waves 12 points and 8 rebounds against Eastport/South Manor. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

One of Riverhead’s starting freshmen, Faith Johnson-DeSilvia, brought the Blue Waves 12 points and 8 rebounds against Eastport/South Manor. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SHARKS 54, BLUE WAVES 50

Any semblance of holiday cheer was wiped off Dave Spinella’s face. He wasn’t happy, and that’s putting it mildly.

The Riverhead High School girls basketball coach said his team showed “no heart” in its 54-50 non-league loss to Eastport/South Manor on Monday.

“We have no energy, no heart,” Spinella said after meeting with his players following the contest at Eastport/South Manor High School, the final game before Christmas for both teams. “We have no fire. We don’t have passion.” (more…)

12/16/14 9:55pm
12/16/2014 9:55 PM
Mercy's Mia Behrens drives to the basket as teammate Julia Cintron-Leonardo blocks out a defender. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Mercy’s Mia Behrens drives to the basket as teammate Julia Cintron-Leonardo blocks out a defender. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

An often heard phrase echoing throughout gymnasiums from basketball coaches is a plea to “value the basketball.”

In Tuesday’s non-league game between Bishop McGann-Mercy and Westhampton, all bets were off. The basketball traded hands between the two teams so frequently, it was like a game of hot potato. At times, the shot clock barely reset after a turnover before another turnover gave possession right back to the first team.  (more…)