01/06/15 7:57pm
01/06/2015 7:57 PM
Riverhead's William Mitchell goes up for a shot against North Babylon's Tim Forbes. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead’s William Mitchell goes up for a shot against North Babylon’s Tim Forbes. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Perhaps no play in high school sports generates the kind of buzz and euphoria as a slam dunk in basketball. Sure, everyone’s likely seen it happen countless times in person. But it still can send a crowd into a frenzy.  (more…)

12/18/14 8:57pm
12/18/2014 8:57 PM
Riverhead guard Sharron Trent goes up for a basket against Hills West Thursday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead guard Sharron Trent goes up for a basket against Hills West Thursday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


Riverhead junior Ryun Moore dribbled into the paint, spun around a Half Hollow Hills West defender and lofted the ball up with one hand off the glass and through the net. It was a slick move, but one that came with an unfortunate side-note.

At 3:35 remaining in the second quarter, it was the Blue Waves’ first field goal.  (more…)

12/04/14 2:30pm
12/04/2014 2:30 PM
Riverhead senior Ethan Greenidge will help anchor the Blue Waves down low this season. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead senior Ethan Greenidge will help anchor the Blue Waves down low this season. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

As a towering presence on the court, Ethan Greenidge is every bit the intimidator a kid his size would appear. A 6-foot-5 forward who excels in football as a lineman, Greenidge also has another side that can get overlooked on the court.

“He’s light on his feet, and moves very well for a kid his size,” said Riverhead coach John Rossetti.  (more…)

11/26/14 2:00pm
11/26/2014 2:00 PM
Tyrese Kerr is one of Riverhead's key returners from last year. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Tyrese Kerr is one of Riverhead’s key returners from last year. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

John Rossetti witnessed an unusual sight when the Riverhead boys basketball team gathered for its first official practice of the 2014 season last week. For the first time in three years, all the players coming out for the team were on the court.

It’s a familiar Catch-22 for Rossetti at the start of every season. Many of Riverhead’s basketball players also play football in the fall.  (more…)

02/06/14 10:13pm
02/06/2014 10:13 PM

Daniel De Mato photo | Michael Hubbard, joined by his mother Nancy Reyer, was given a team jersey and autographed basketball by the Riverhead boys basketball team at halftime of Thursday’s game against West Islip.


As the crowd inside Riverhead High School rose to its feet, the smile on Michael Hubbard’s face couldn’t have been any wider.

In an emotional halftime ceremony Thursday night, Michael was recognized as an honorary member of the boys basketball team and presented with an autographed basketball and jersey. (more…)

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


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…)

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


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.”

12/30/13 7:51pm
12/30/2013 7:51 PM

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Riverhead senior Deon Shorter scored 17 points in the Blue Waves’ loss to Sachem East Monday.


With each successive stop on defense, the crowd grew louder and louder, waiting for the inevitable big basket from Riverhead that would turn the game in the home team’s favor.

For more than five minutes into the fourth quarter of a non-league game against Sachem East Monday night, the Blue Waves held the Flaming Arrows to two points in the quarter. Riverhead trimmed what had been a 10-point deficit earlier in the half down to four. But with each stop on defense came a missed opportunity on the other end of the court.

And despite hitting just three field goals in the final quarter, Sachem East cruised from the free-throw line during the final two minutes to escape Riverhead with a 62-57 victory.

“We had a sense on the bench that the big shot was coming,” said Riverhead coach John Rossetti. “It was like the ball was slipping out. The ball wasn’t going our way tonight.”

The Blue Waves dropped their sixth straight game after a season-opening win over Bellport. As the league season gets into full swing beginning at the end of this week, the Blue Waves will have little time left to right the ship before postseason aspirations begin to fade.

Riverhead is 0-3 in League III going into Friday’s game against Smithtown East.

“We’re a young team with very few kids that have playing time varsity experience,” Rossetti said. “The scoreboard isn’t showing it, but these kids are getting significantly better. We’re right there. We’re going to be OK.”

Senior point guard Deon Shorter led Riverhead with 17 points, matching his season high set twice before. Sachem East had four players in double figures, led by Ryan Cole’s 17.

The Blue Waves trailed throughout the game, briefly taking a one-point lead at 23-22 in the second quarter. The Flaming Arrows opened the second half on a 11-3 run to open up their biggest lead of the game at 40-30. The Blue Waves got caught twice giving up open looks on 3-pointers and the Arrows — who didn’t shoot particularly well from deep — burnt them on both possessions. They were 2-12 from 3-point range until the back-to-back long balls. Sachem finished the game 4-for-21 from beyond the arc.

Riverhead switched between a zone and man defense during the game. In both sets at times, the Blue Waves lost track of defenders and gave up easy hoops.

“We have some lapses out there and when we go into lapses we get into this rut,” Rossetti said. “Our weak side defense in man-to-man needs help and our on-ball pressure, we need to do a better job of pushing guys to a side. We’re letting them dictate where to go.”

It hasn’t helped in recent games that senior Brandon Tolliver has been slowed by a deep bone bruise on his knee that he suffered in a collision earlier this month. Tolliver had offseason surgery following a torn ACL.

The latest bone bruise has limited his explosiveness.

“He’s hobbling out there and he’s giving it his all,” Rossetti said. “But he’s not the Brandon we’re used to seeing. I give the kid credit. He’s trying to be a trooper.”

Tolliver finished with seven points. Sophomores Tyrese Kerr and Charles Manning both scored nine.

Finding the right rotations has been the challenge early on in the season for Rossetti. He’s already used multiple starting lineups. Center Ethan Greenidge started in Monday’s game, but didn’t see much action in the second half as the Blue Waves tried to better match up against the smaller Arrows.

“They were bringing him out way up high, so it kind of took his size and negated it,” Rossetti said. “So we had to go with a smaller lineup.”

Jeremiah Cheatom came off the bench to kick in 10 points, mostly on second chance buckets, which has been his speciality going back to last season.

Cheatom missed an easy one under the basket about halfway through the fourth quarter that would have cut Sachem’s lead to two. It was just one example of missed opportunities for Riverhead.

Where the Blue Waves really hurt themselves was at the free-throw line. They finished 7 of 16 for 44 percent. Sachem was 12 of 20 for 60 percent.