Riverhead girls basketball players — the LI champs — head to Troy

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead senior Jalyn Brown says goodbye to her schoolmates Thursday morning before boarding a coach bus headed for Troy.

Hundreds of students filled the bleachers at Riverhead High School Thursday morning to see off the varsity girls baskeball team at a pep rally just before the players left for the school’s first-ever state semifinal game in Troy, N.Y.

(See more photos below.)

The rally started just before 10 a.m. in the high school gym as Riverhead cheerleaders chanted “we want state!” Shirtless members of the “Blue Krew” cheering section painted their bodies blue and shouted cheers as the girls walked into the packed gym.

The girls were all wearing the black Nike shirts, each emblazoned with the same saying: “We Run Long Island.”

High school principal David Wicks said he was “in awe” of the team and how the players have rallied the Riverhead community behind them during an historic playoff run.

For example, when Mr. Wicks tried to buy lunch for the girls from the Bean & Bagel Cafe in Calverton Thursday morning, the cafe refused to accept his money, and donated the food to the team instead.

Holding Thursday’s rally was just one more way to show support for the team, he said.

“How positively [the team has] brought the community and the school together, we knew we had to do something for them,” Mr. Wicks said.

High school senior and member of the Blue Krew, Jordan Fulcoly, led the jumping and cheering, impromptu cheer crew outside as the girls filed onto the coach bus for Troy. He said the group was proud of what the girls team has accomplished.

“They’re just amazing,” Jordan said. “We didn’t expect them to get this far at all. They just proved us wrong, and now we believe.”

Riverheadnewsreview will be streaming live video of the semifinal game from Troy Friday night, starting at 6 p.m., with veteran sports journalist and News-Review web editor Grant Parpan calling the game. (Game starts at 6:15 p.m.)

If the Blue Waves advance, the site will then be streaming the finals at 9 p.m. Saturday night.

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