02/20/14 1:00pm
02/20/2014 1:00 PM
BILL LANDON FILE PHOTO  |  Former Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz speaks with a reporter in 2012.

Former Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz speaks with a reporter in 2012. (Bill Landon file photo)

Former Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz was hired as an assistant coach at Smithtown West for the upcoming season after spending the previous 19 years leading the Wildcats. (more…)

02/05/13 8:45am
02/05/2013 8:45 AM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Riverhead senior Quinn Funn is hacked on the arm as he goes up for a shot last week against Centereach.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Riverhead senior Quinn Funn is hacked on the arm as he goes up for a shot last week against Centereach.

When the Riverhead boys basketball team lost to North Babylon in mid-January — putting the teams in a tie for first at the midway point of the league season — it appeared the League III title might come down to the final game of the season when the teams would meet again.

As it turns out, it’ll be the penultimate game of the regular season that will have the biggest determining factor on the league title.

The Blue Waves, winners of four straight, will host Smithtown West at 5:45 p.m. tonight at Riverhead High School. Both teams are 10-2 in league and the winner of tonight’s game will be guaranteed at least a share of the league title. Smithtown West closes out the season Thursday against East Islip (10-6).

North Babylon, after the big win over previously unbeaten Riverhead Jan. 15, lost three of its next five games to slip to 8-4 and fall out of contention for the league title.

The Blue Waves won 59-55 against Smithtown West Jan. 10 on the road. The Blue Waves had four players in double figures that night, led by 17 from Markim Austin. The Blue Waves needed a big second half to come back from a eight-point halftime deficit.

Be sure to check back tonight for a full recap of tonight’s game.

joew@timesreview.com

04/29/11 9:32pm
04/29/2011 9:32 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Alex McKillop stroked a single for Riverhead on this swing against Smithtown West.

SMITHTOWN — Somedays you have it, some days you don’t.

After securing back-to-back shutouts and a five-inning no-hitter, Amanda Graziano and her Riverhead High School softball teammates had high hopes of continuing her hot hand against the Smithtown West Bulls on Friday.

But Friday turned out to be one of those days when the Blue Waves didn’t have it because of one of those innings. They could not overcome a five-run first inning by Smithtown West in a 6-3 loss in a Suffolk County League III/IV crossover game.

“It’s a rough game to lose,” Riverhead Coach Bob Fox said. “Five runs in the first inning with [one] hit. We made mistakes and they capitalized.”

Graziano, a sophomore right-hander, had been pitching very well of late. She blanked North Babylon in her first shutout, 2-0, on April 20 and followed that with the first no-hitter of her career, a 14-0 triumph over Half Hollow Hills East, a game that was shortened by the mercy rule, on April 27.

“I was expecting to do a lot better than I did,” Graziano said. “Kind of put me down in the first inning when my team was making all the errors behind [me] and the few walks I had. I kept my head up and I kept trying to pull through and I did.”

The Bulls (9-2, 9-2) had something to do with that.

Fox said Smithtown West, which plays in League III, was a different class than than the other two opponents Graziano shut down.

“A lot depends on who you’re pitching shutouts against and no-hitters against,” Smithtown West Coach David Miller said. “There are teams that won’t put the ball in play as much as my kids will. It’s easy to pitch against that kind of team as opposed to a team that puts the ball in play.”

Add the fact that Graziano struggled with her control, giving up six walks. That included three in that first-inning marathon, which took almost a half-hour to complete; the rest of the game took only 70 minutes.

The Blue Waves (5-6, 5-6) scored three runs in the top of the inning, while the Bulls rallied for five runs in their half.

“There will not be an instructional video made [about] the first inning for either team,” Miller said.

Riverhead took advantage of a hit by pitch, a walk and a fielder’s choice to grab a 3-0 advantage behind Beth Zilnicki’s two-run single and Macey Reichel’s run-scoring hit against right-hander Catherine Heacox.

“I wasn’t happy when they jumped off with three,” Miller said. “What makes it even worse was a ball isn’t hit hard, another is not hit hard and all of a sudden they have a couple of runs. We got back into it by capitalizing on their miscues.”

Graziano faced nine batters in the bottom half. She walked three and her defense made four errors.

“We need to work on fielding the ball and just paying attention to what’s going on,” Zilnicki said.

After her last two outings, Graziano admitted she thought of her no-hitter.

“It actually came through my mind once: ‘Why am I not doing this good?’ ” she said with a laugh. “But I guess I got down a little on myself. That’s never the right thing to do. I put myself through it and kept my head up.”

Fox had no doubt that Graziano will rebound in her next start. “She’s a sophomore and she’s looking fine,” he said.

After the first inning, runs were hard to come by. Graziano allowed four hits the rest of the way. Heacox settled down and did not allow a hit through six innings.

Not wanting to tempt fate even with a three-run lead, Miller brought in closer Melissa Koster in the seventh. Koster struck out the first two hitters before she retired the final out on a comebacker to the mound.

“My assistants say to me, ‘Bring in Melissa after Catherine. Melissa throws a lot harder,’ ” Miller said. “All of a sudden it’s bringing in Mariano [Rivera] after somebody else is throwing junk or something else like that. She threw hard. She had a tremendous relief outing the other day against North Babylon, bases loaded, no outs in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied and she got out of it.”

01/13/11 8:59pm
01/13/2011 8:59 PM



GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead senior guard Elwood Lamb III and his teammates were taken down by a scrappy Smithtown West team that had won one of its previous eight games.



In the dog-eat-dog world of Suffolk County high school boys basketball, teams look for wins where they can get them. A win surely was on the minds of the Riverhead Blue Waves going into Thursday night’s game. The Smithtown West Bulls, however, had other ideas.

After opening the season with seven straight losses, Smithtown West picked up its second win a row — at Riverhead’s expense.

Smithtown West made 15 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter to secure a 55-50 triumph at Riverhead High School. So much for win-loss records, which can be deceptive sometimes.

“You can never take a team lightly, no matter what their record is,” Riverhead junior forward Tim Clement said. “They come with intensity, they can win the game.”

Smithtown West sure brought the intensity. After it took 1 minute 56 seconds before either side got on the scoreboard, Riverhead built a 20-8 lead with the aid of six points apiece from Ben Edmund and Clement. Smithtown West made only two of its first 11 field-goal attempts.

No matter. The Bulls were undeterred. Perhaps they learned a lesson from their painful experience against the Newfield Wolverines on Jan. 6. The Bulls led by 21 points going into the fourth quarter of that game and lost in overtime by three points.

“We won’t lose a game like that again,” Smithtown West junior guard James Pannell said. “We have to keep fighting to the end.”

That is what the Bulls did. Before fouling out with 2:46 remaining, Eric Joseph scored 16 points for the Bulls, who brought their League III record to 2-3 and gave themselves a brighter outlook on the season. Also reaching double figures for Smithtown West were Ryan Hickey with 13 points and Matt Schultz with 11. Schultz also grabbed nine rebounds.


GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Tim Clement delivered 12 points and 16 rebounds to Riverhead's cause.


“Big win, big win,” Smithtown West Coach Mike Massa told reporters. “It puts us right back into the playoff picture. It gives the kids confidence to believe in what we’re doing, and that if we keep working hard every day, good things will come, and I kept telling them that, and we have been getting better. But the record didn’t show that early in the season. But little by little, they’re climbing up the hill. Like I told them, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and the season is a long journey.”

Smithtown West closed out the first half on a 10-0 run to cut Riverhead’s lead to three points at 22-19. Then the Bulls opened the third quarter with three straight baskets by Joseph, Hickey (a three-pointer) and Schultz to take the lead for good. Riverhead did tie the score at 42-42 on a foul-line jumper by Brandon Tolliver, but Smithtown West surged ahead again.

“We [expended] so much energy to tie it up that we exhaled,” Riverhead Coach John Rossetti said. “As we exhaled, we let them score five straight points. We went from a tied ballgame to down by five pretty quickly.”

By mixing up defenses, the Bulls mixed up the Blue Waves, who shot 1 of 18 from beyond the three-point line.

“Suffolk County basketball for us is going to be a war every night,” Massa said. “We’re not going to blow anybody out, but when we play, we want to make sure they know they’re playing against a formidable opponent and we’re never going to roll over. We’ll play 32 minutes, end to end, no matter what the score is, no matter what the situation is.”

Thanks to its free throws, Smithtown West won the game despite not making a field goal in the fourth quarter and attempting only two.

Edmund scored a game-high 20 points, Clement contributed 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Riverhead fell short. Its record dropped to 4-5, 3-2 in the league.

So, what does this loss do to Riverhead?

“Tonight they produced, and we didn’t get the job done,” said Rossetti, whose team started the day tied with the East Islip Redmen for second place. “We’re still right there in the mix. Is this something that’s going to change the season? No, it’s not going to change the season.”

Afterwards, Clement was asked what bothered him the most about the night.

He simply replied, “We should have won the game.”

bliepa@timesreview.com