Girls Basketball: Spinella says Blue Waves lack ‘heart’

One of Riverhead's starting freshmen, Faith Johnson-DeSilvia, brought the Blue Waves 12 points and 8 rebounds against Eastport/South Manor. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)
One of Riverhead’s starting freshmen, Faith Johnson-DeSilvia, brought the Blue Waves 12 points and 8 rebounds against Eastport/South Manor. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


Any semblance of holiday cheer was wiped off Dave Spinella’s face. He wasn’t happy, and that’s putting it mildly.

The Riverhead High School girls basketball coach said his team showed “no heart” in its 54-50 non-league loss to Eastport/South Manor on Monday.

“We have no energy, no heart,” Spinella said after meeting with his players following the contest at Eastport/South Manor High School, the final game before Christmas for both teams. “We have no fire. We don’t have passion.”

Spinella said it was the third straight game in which he wasn’t happy with what he saw from the Blue Waves.

“We don’t want to play,” he continued. “We don’t want to come out and dig our heels in and get gritty and have pride. They have no pride, they have no heart and no fire, and that can’t be fixed. You know, it has nothing to do with their skill. They’re incredibly talented, but when you don’t have the passion to go with it, it’s useless.”

Eastport/South Manor (4-2, 0-2), a League V team, shot well enough — 46.3 percent from the field — that it was able to make up for its 24-10 disadvantage in turnovers. Riverhead (3-3, 2-0 in League III) was a cold 29.8 percent from the field.

Consecutive layups by Diamond Rodriguez and Nijay Brown gave Eastport/South Manor a 50-47 lead. Then Samantha Giacolone made 4 of 6 free throws over the final 50.2 seconds to enable the Sharks to hold on for the win.

Giacolone, a senior guard, canned four 3-point shots, finishing with 16 points and 9 assists. Corie Hack added 15 points and Rodriguez had 10. Brown grabbed 10 rebounds.

Sam Dunn (15 points, 7 rebounds), Faith Johnson-DeSilvia (12 points, 8 rebounds) and Kate McCarney (11 points) led Riverhead.

Riverhead fell behind by as many as 11 points, but mounted an 11-0 run to even the score at 32-32 in the third quarter. It seemed as if a momentum shift was in progress. But Eastport/South Manor refused to crumble, and the game was tight the rest of the way.

“It’s a 32-minute game,” Spinella said. “You got to come out ready to dig in and drive and go nuts for 32 minutes, and we don’t have that.”

“It’s a team issue, it’s not an individual,” he continued. “We don’t have any identity. The teams in the past have always at least been gritty. Nobody fears us. People were afraid to play Riverhead because we were in your face defensively and we were going to make you earn everything, and we don’t do that. We let teams do what they want.”

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