Monday Briefing: The Blue Waves are the hottest ticket in town

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Blue Waves girls basketball players signing mock News-Review covers for fans after the team's big win Friday night in Farmingdale.

For about half the cost of going to a movie, my wife and I were kept entertained Friday night by the show that is the Riverhead Blue Waves girls basketball team.

My wife isn’t a big basketball fan, but there she was, up on her feet for much of the game as the Waves scratched and clawed their way ahead of the Baldwin Bruins in Farmingdale to win the Long Island championship.

Web editor Grant Parpan and I were especially nervous when the waves were down, because under our feet sat a box of 500 full-color glossy mock-up front pages of the Riverhead News-Review, posters announcing the team Long Island champs. Grant could barely speak as the team went down by 10 points in the 2nd quarter. “We’re the biggest jinx around!” was all he kept saying. (Not that I was the steady, calming voice of confidence.)

We waited until the last buzzer sounded and the game was officially over before opening that box. Then we were swarmed. It was awesome to then see the players autographing them for their fans. (See photo.) Riverhead point guard Jalyn Brown told News-Review sports editor Bob Liepa she felt like a celebrity.

Jalyn and the rest of the Waves will feel like even bigger celebrities this weekend, as they head off to the state championship tournament in Troy, N.Y. How do they match up? Check back at this week for previews by sports editors Bob Liepa and Joe Werkmeister.

Then be sure to follow along on our live blogs if you can’t make the games, for the most detailed coverage of the play-by-play anywhere. As one commenter said during Friday night’s live blog, it’s really like being at the game.

• While there’s no greater escape than sports and the teams that captivate us, be it as a town or a city or a nation, we all recognize the true heroes are found elsewhere.  On Saturday night, 55 veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars could be found in Riverhead’s Polish Hall, at an event called Operation Forever Grateful, hosted by the town and organized by Councilman John Dunleavy, along with Liz Stokes and Linda Hulse. (Check back at noon for more photos from the event.)
Among the younger veterans honored was Marine Corporal Alfred Grossklaus Jr. of Aquebogue, a 2005 Riverhead High School graduate who was shot in the back and badly injured during an ambush by insurgents in Afghanistan last June. A Purple Heart recipient, he was discharged from the military in December.
“We definitely know we’re appreciated, but it’s nice to have something like this,” he told News-Review writer Tim Gannon.
• A small crowd also assembled Saturday morning in Jamesport to discuss the proposed YMCA for Main Road. Click here to read what they said about the Y project, and check the News-Review newspaper Thursday for additional information.
•  I can’t stand the complaining. For one morning of one Monday you’re a bit more tired than usual due to Daylight Savings Time. It’s just one day, people! The tired feeling will go away soon. Then, for the rest of the next seven months you’ll be driving home in the daylight, mixing barbecue back into the dinner rotation and for some, playing that extra round of golf. A lost hour of sleep is a small price to pay.

For me, Daylight Savings Time is the true beginning of spring, and everything that goes with it.

So have that second cup of coffee and enjoy it.

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Michael White is the editor of the Riverhead News-Review. He can be reached by email or at (631) 298-3200, ext. 152.