Girls Basketball: Allen lands in Riverhead’s record book

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shanice Allen leapt into the record book, passing Felicia Hobson as Riverhead’s all-time leading scorer.

It was Shanice Allen’s day, a day Riverhead girls basketball will never forget.

Allen scored a career-high 36 points and set a Riverhead High School career scoring record during her team’s 72-50 win over Centereach last Thursday. The senior, who has been a varsity starter since she was an eighth-grader, has 1,208 career points to her credit. She passed the previous mark of 1,195 that Felicia Hobson set in the early 1990s, according to coach Dave Spinella.

Allen broke the school record by scoring on a layup off her own steal in the third quarter. Then the game was stopped.

“I had no idea why they were stopping the game,” Allen said. “I didn’t even have a clue.”

An announcement was made over Riverhead High School’s public-address system, informing the fans about Allen’s achievement. Spinella handed the game ball to Allen, who in turn presented it to her father, Willie. Allen received a standing ovation from the crowd as well as applause from Centereach players.

Asked how this rates among her basketball achievements, Allen answered: “It ranks pretty high. It’s probably number one.”

Spinella said: “It’s all about her, but it’s kind of cool to say that I coached the school’s all-time leading scorer. She’s such a low-key kid. It probably hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s a pretty cool thing. How many people can say they hold a record in anything? … To her, it’s just another day at the office.”

Allen’s 36 points were the most any of Spinella’s players have scored in a single game during his 10 years as Riverhead’s coach. Allen shot 14 of 26 from the field, including a pair of back-to-back 3-point shots down the stretch to help seal the win. She shot 6 of 8 from the free-throw line.

“I just felt like everything was coming to me,” Allen said. “It was just meant to be.”

Allen, who has signed a letter of intent to play for Pace University, is the only returning starter from last season’s Riverhead team that reached the New York State Class AA semifinals. She averages 21 points per game, using an improved outside shot as well as her athleticism to get to the basket.

While former teammates such as Jalyn Brown and Melodee Riley have moved on, Allen has been the unquestioned on-court leader of the Blue Waves (4-4, 3-1 Suffolk County League III) this season. “Now she’s standing on her own, and she’s really starting to shine,” said Spinella.

Naysha Trent may know Allen better than any of the other Blue Waves. Trent said she is Allen’s “teammate, friend, cousin, everything.”

Asked how Allen handled the milestone, Trent said: “She has a smile on her face, but she doesn’t jump up and down. She’s cool about it.”

Allen is a natural scorer. Her instinct is to attack the basket, knowing there is a good chance she will either get a layup or be fouled and rewarded with free throws.

The school’s career scoring record became a real possibility for Allen when she scored her 1,000th career point in last year’s Suffolk Class AA final win over Hauppauge.

Was she nervous as she approached the school record?

“Not really,” she said. “I just go in every game the same, confident. I got to do what I got to do.”

Allen said she received a congratulatory text message on Friday from Hobson. “She reached out,” Allen said. “That was nice.”

Trent hit four 3-pointers and produced a career-high 20 points for Riverhead. The Blue Waves scored only 9 points in the first quarter. The final score is a little deceiving. It was a 9-point game with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Centereach dropped to 3-5, 0-3.

The game will be remembered, though, as the contest in which Allen made her mark as Riverhead’s most prolific scorer ever.

“It’s a great night for her,” Spinella said. “It’s a great night for her family. She makes me very proud. She makes her family very proud. She makes Riverhead very proud.”

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