Basketball: Riverhead boys face win-and-in game Tuesday

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Brandon Tolliver drives to the basket for Riverhead against Centereach in the Blue Waves' Jan. 19 win.

It’s come down to this for the Riverhead boys basketball team: one game Tuesday at Centereach for a chance to advance into the Class AA playoffs.

After a 59-42 loss at home to league champion East Islip Thursday, the Blue Waves dropped to 5-6 in League III. Teams that finish .500 in league earn a spot in the playoffs.

The good news for the Blue Waves is they’ll face a Centereach team that has struggled this season. The Cougars are 2-9 in league and 3-14 overall. The Blue Waves defeated the Cougars by 24 points in their first meeting Jan. 19 at Riverhead.

If the Blue Waves can win, they’ll draw another low seed similar to last year when they were No. 15 and had to go up against No. 2 Longwood.

The Blue Waves could fall as far the No. 16 or 17 seed, which would force them to play an outbracket game Friday for the right to play the No. 1 seed Saturday.

Check back Tuesday night for coverage of Riverhead’s game at Centereach.

Here’s a breakdown of where the rest of the local hoops teams stand as the final week of the regular season winds down:

Boys Basketball

Class A: Shoreham-Wading River locked up a playoff spot thanks to six straight wins to close out the league season. At 7-5 in League VI, the Wildcats will open up the playoffs Saturday, most likely on the road. The top two seeds in Class A are scheduled to receive byes, although Rocky Point, Bayport and East Hampton could still clinch a playoff spot, which would expand the bracket. Bayport must beat Amityville to get in. East Hampton needs a win over Westhampton and Rocky Point has to take down Harborfields.

Harborfields (14-2) will be the No. 1 seed and Amityville (14-2) will likely be No. 2.

Class B: McGann-Mercy rallied in the fourth quarter on Senior Night Monday to remain alive for the playoffs. Senior Pat Stepnoski scored 30 points to lead the Monarchs to an 82-81 victory. Mercy trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter. The win improved the Monarchs’ record to 6-7 in League VII. They’ll close out the regular season Wednesday at Babylon needing a victory to clinch a playoff spot. The game begins at 6:15 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Class AA: The Riverhead girls have won 16 straight games and are 11-0 in League III with one game remaining Tuesday at home against Centereach. The Blue Waves are in line for a top-four seed in the Class AA bracket. The question is can the Blue Waves crack into the top three, which would allow them to bypass Sachem East until the finals. The Flaming Arrows are 15-0 and 13-0 in a competitive League I. Lindenhurst is 16-1 and 13-0 in League II and then Hauppauge is undefeated at 17-0 in League IV.

So somewhere along the line, a one-loss team is going to be as low as a four seed.

The Blue Waves will open the playoffs Jan. 20 at home. As a top four seed they would be assured of two home games before the playoffs switch to Farmingdale State College for the semifinals.

Class A: Shoreham-Wading River closed out the regular season Friday night with a win at home against Bayport-Blue Point. The Wildcats finished 8-4 in League VI and 11-7 overall. They’ll open up the playoffs Saturday. They could be as high as four seed or they could slip into the five to six range. Harborfields and John Glenn should be the top two seeds.