03/12/14 6:00am
03/12/2014 6:00 AM
Steve Bellone delivering his State of the County speech on March 5. (courtesy)

Steve Bellone delivering his State of the County speech on March 5. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivered his annual State of the County address last W in the Legislature’s meeting room in Hauppauge.

Below is a transcript of the address in its entirety, as provided by Mr .Bellone’s office.

State of County

02/29/12 12:28am
02/29/2012 12:28 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shanice Allen struck a triumphant pose after Riverhead won its first Suffolk County championship since 1984.

SUFFOLK CLASS AA FINAL | BLUE WAVES 60, EAGLES 52

When it was over, Riverhead players raced into each other’s arms as cameras flashed and the crowd cheered. Much more than a season’s worth of work had been on the line. This was more like a five-year plan coming to fruition. Everything had been geared toward Tuesday’s game. That heightened the pressure and the sense of urgency.

Special girls basketball teams like Riverhead don’t come along often, so when they do, they want to leave their mark. That is what the Blue Waves did on Tuesday. With a rare opportunity to snatch the second Suffolk County championship in team history, Riverhead did just that.

The Blue Waves captured the Suffolk Class AA Tournament title by doing something that no other team had been able to do this season: defeat Hauppauge.

Behind 24 points and an inspired effort by Shanice Allen, who dropped in her 1,000th career point along the way, third-seeded Riverhead shot down No. 4 Hauppauge, 60-52. The only other county title Riverhead won was a Class B crown in 1984.

After the final second ticked off the clock at Farmingdale State College, Riverhead senior guard Jalyn Brown ran over to her coach, Dave Spinella, and jumped into his arms. “I just started busting out crying because this is my dream, to win a county championship,” she said.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shanice Allen, cutting through a hole in Hauppauge's defense, scored 24 points for Riverhead, including the 1,000th of her career.

Riverhead will play Class B champion Southampton on Friday for the overall county championship. Southampton upset Class A champion John Glenn Wednesday, 46-40, for the small school title. It was John Glenn that handed Riverhead its only loss in the season opener. The Blue Waves have won 21 straight since then.

More importantly, Riverhead has a date in the Southeast Region final on March 9 against the Nassau County champion, which has not been determined. A win in that game would send Riverhead to the New York State final four in Troy.

“It’s the happiest day,” Allen said. “This was what we had to win. We knew we had to come out, go hard or go home.”

Brown said, “We wanted to make history today, and we did.”

This has been a season of milestones for Riverhead: Spinella’s 100th career win; Brown’s 1,000th career point in Riverhead’s first playoff game; and now Allen’s 1,000th career point.

Allen needed 20 points to become the fourth Riverhead girl to reach the 1,000-point mark. The junior shooting guard reached that point with a free throw with 3 minutes 23 seconds left in the game. It wasn’t until a short while later, however, that the achievement was noted with an announcement by the public-address announcer, drawing a smile from Allen and hugs from her teammates.

“I wasn’t really expecting that,” she said. “I knew I was close.”

Allen was a big factor in the game. She scored her first 13 points during a pivotal 18-4 run that lifted Riverhead to a 29-18 lead early in the third quarter.

Allen showed coolness under fire, sinking 13 of 16 free throws.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Melodee Riley of Riverhead rose above Hauppauge's Lindsay Alfano (21) and Stephanie Peragallo (22) while shooting.

“She doesn’t feel too much pressure at all,” Spinella said. “That’s the mentality she has. … There are games that she takes over and says, ‘We’re not going to lose today.’ ”

Suffocating defense held Hauppauge (21-1) to a season-low 18 points in the first half. Hauppauge never led after the first quarter, falling behind by as many as 13 points on two occasions in the fourth quarter.

Hauppauge, a dangerous team that knocked off No. 1 Sachem East in the semifinals, has a penchant for the 3-point shot, with sharpshooters like Julie Williams and Lauren Descalzo. But Riverhead alertly kept close to the Eagles on the perimeter and held them to 0-for-2 shooting from beyond the arc in the first half. Hauppauge, which went 4 of 13 on 3-point attempts, didn’t hit its first 3-pointer until early in the third quarter when Lindsay Alfano knocked one down. Not long after that, Descalzo hit a trey, making it a 4-point game at 33-29.

“We had to get out to the arc and make them drivers instead of shooters,” said Allen.

Meanwhile, Riverhead hit 51.4 percent of its field-goal attempts, going 18 of 35. The Blue Waves made 21 of 27 free throws.

Riverhead suffered a scare with 3:55 to go in the third quarter. While charging toward the basket, Brown lost control, fell on her back and smacked her head against the floor. She laid motionless on the court, face down for a couple of minutes.

“I sort of blacked out a little bit,” she said.

Brown rose up and walked slowly to the bench, where a concussion test was administered. Then, 2:09 later, Brown re-entered the game to applause from the Riverhead fans.

Later, with 4:57 left in the game, Allen was the victim of a hard foul by Kasey Kephart that sent her to the floor where she writhed in pain before rising and walking off. Riverhead called a timeout and Allen remained in the game, going to the free-throw line to take her foul shots.

Hauppauge kept tight reins on Melodee Riley, who had scored a career-high 28 points against Lindenhurst in Riverhead’s semifinal. But Riley still ended up with 18 points (15 in the second half) and 8 rebounds.

Brown had 11 points and 5 assists. Kaila-Riane Nazario pulled down 10 rebounds for Riverhead.

Descalzo scored 17 points, Alfano added 13 points and 5 assists, and Stephanie Peragallo had 12 points and 8 rebounds for Hauppauge, which was seeking its second county title.

It had been 61 days since Riverhead last played a game decided by single digits. In Riverhead’s previous 20 wins, its average margin of victory was 24.3 points.

Regardless of the margin of victory, Riverhead is a county champion. That is something the Blue Waves have been waiting a long time to say.

“It’s amazing, awesome,” Riley said. “It had to be us, right?”

bliepa@timesreview.com

09/16/11 10:13pm
09/16/2011 10:13 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Charles Bartlett of Riverhead found running room against Hauppauge, picking up four touchdowns and 132 yards.

Coming off an intoxicating performance in which they passed the football for almost 400 yards, it was as if the Riverhead Blue Waves wanted to prove a couple of points. Firstly, they wanted to serve a reminder that they can run the ball, too (just ask Charles Bartlett and Jeremiah Cheatom). They also let it be known that they aren’t afraid to try an onside kick — even three times in a row.

Bartlett ran for a career-high four touchdowns — all in the first half — on a brisk Friday night as Riverhead ran its record to 2-0 in Suffolk County Division II with a 45-13 thumping of the Hauppauge Eagles. Cheatom ran for another Riverhead touchdown as well.

“No surprise,” Quinn Funn, who played wide receiver and cornerback for Riverhead, said afterward. “I knew how the game was going to come out. If we come out hard, that’s going to be like that every game.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead's Reggie Moore intercepted a pass in the first quarter.

The running game was a prominent feature. In their season-opening upset of the East Islip Redmen, the Blue Waves had 29 running plays against 38 pass plays. On Friday night they ran the ball 51 times and threw 23 passes.

The results were impressive. Bartlett and Cheatom both surpassed 100 yards as the Blue Waves totaled 278 rushing yards. Bartlett, a senior, consumed 132 yards on 19 carries, and Cheatom, a sophomore, collected 101 yards from 23 runs.

It was all part of a fine-tuned offense that produced 27 first downs and 459 yards in total offense. Riverhead put up 513 yards worth of offense against East Islip.

“We wanted to show teams that we are [multi-faceted], and can run and pass,” said Funn.

More running was part of the plan.

“We want to be a little more balanced in our attack, and we look at each game plan differently and try to take advantage of areas where they’re weaker,” Riverhead Coach Leif Shay said. “Yeah, we want to be a little more balanced. We have a dynamic back in Charles and a young guy in Jeremiah, so, we want to get those guys involved as well.”

Riverhead quarterback Ryan Bitzer, who passed for a career-high 395 yards against East Islip, looked sharp again, throwing his fifth touchdown pass of the year, a 31-yarder to Mike Hinchy for the game’s only points in the first quarter. Bitzer went 14 of 22 for 181 yards and an interception.

That combination of offensive threats, operating out of a no-huddle offense that allowed Riverhead to control the tempo, gave Hauppauge (1-1) a lot to think about.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead's Tim Clement attempted to catch a pass, but Hauppauge's Matt Snyder broke the play up.

“They could pretty much offensively do what they wanted, and they had a good mix,” Hauppauge Coach Joe Patrovich said. “They do a very good job. They stretch you. First of all, they make you pack it in because of the two tight ends or that look. So you got to pack it in because they’re a very good zone team and a very good inside running team. And then when you pack it in, they have threats on the perimeter that they can throw it to. I just think they’re very impressive in what they do and how they scheme offensively.”

Funn scooped up a fumble and ran the ball 34 yards to the end zone for an apparent touchdown. It was nullified by a personal foul, though.

No matter, Riverhead kept moving the ball on that series until a four-yard run by Bitzer for his second touchdown of the season. Jeffrey Pittman’s point-after kick stretched Riverhead’s lead to 38-0 by the time the third quarter was 4 minutes 40 seconds old.

Kurt Carter replaced Bitzer at quarterback later in the third quarter. The first and only pass he threw was picked off by Dominic Confredo and returned 54 yards for a touchdown with 3:16 left in the third quarter.

The Hauppauge fans who came out for their team’s home opener had something else to cheer about when C. J. Ciserano made a couple of nice moves that helped him to a 25-yard touchdown run 4:24 into the fourth quarter.

Pittman executed three straight onside kicks in the first half, the second of which was successfully recovered by teammate Anthony Chiaramonte, setting up a 12-yard scoring run by Bartlett.

Bartlett, a back with a reputation for being able to get the tough yards, also scored on a pair of two-yard runs and a five-yarder.

“I felt great about how we can pass the ball and also how we can run the ball,” said Bartlett, who already has five touchdowns to his credit this young season. “Also, our line did fantastic, gave me lanes to run through and, again, tough yards [are] really what won the game for us. Our mental toughness won the game for us.”

Hauppauge, a No. 11 seed that has only one starter on either side of the ball back from last year, was outgunned by No. 6 Riverhead.

“They’re what we thought they were,” Patrovich said. “I don’t know if they’re what the league thought they were coming in because their seed is not that high, but I think they’re a very talented team.”

Two games into the season, Bartlett has noticed a difference from last year’s Riverhead team. “Our mentality is win at all costs,” he said. “We didn’t have that last year and we have it this year.”

Shay said: “This is a team with a lot of heart, a team with a lot of pride. We’re not going to sit and rest on our laurels. We’re going to keep on pressing and try to win as many games as we can.”

Be it through the air or on the ground.

bliepa@timesreview.com