Girls Basketball: Kings Park pulls away from Blue Waves

Riverhead's Kim Ligon flies toward the basket as King Park's Gianna Cancemi stands her ground. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)
Riverhead’s Kim Ligon flies toward the basket as King Park’s Gianna Cancemi stands her ground. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


Sam Dunn was getting bumped, banged around and knocked to the floor. The Riverhead High School junior flashed a grin when she wasn’t giving an incredulous look to her bench after not being granted the benefit of a foul call.

It was a playoff game, after all, and Dunn was determined to enjoy the moment, even if she couldn’t take much joy in the final result.

The Blue Waves were outscored, 26-11, in a third quarter that swung Tuesday evening’s Suffolk County Class AA girls basketball first-round game decisively in host Kings Park’s favor. Sam Schultz scored 8 of her 16 points in that quarter and Emily Morello’s 3-point shot capped a 12-0 spurt to end the period with the Kingsmen ahead by 20 points. They led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter before settling for a 69-51 final score in their favor.

The win earns sixth-seeded Kings Park (15-4) a quarterfinal at No. 3 Copiague (16-2), the League III champion, on Friday.

No. 11 Riverhead (11-8) and Kings Park are the respective runners-up in Leagues III and IV, but there was no question which was the superior team on Tuesday. Perhaps experience had something to do with it. The Kingsmen had a bit more seniority on their side. The Blue Waves started three freshmen — Faith Johnson-DeSilvia, Kim Ligon and Kate McCarney — alongside juniors Dezarae Brown and Dunn.

The Blue Waves battled and worked hard, yet trailed by 5 points at halftime. Then Kings Park tightened its defense and made 11 of 16 field-goal attempts in the third quarter to pull away.

Described by its coach, Tom Edmundson, as a team without a star but full of good players, Kings Park’s balance showed in the scorebook. In addition to Schultz’s 16 points, Kayla Teape put in 15 and Tiffany Slicklein had 13 points to go with 10 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals.

Dunn, a 5-foot-10 junior, turned in an admirable performance. When she was pulled from the game with 2 minutes 27 seconds left, she had compiled 20 points and 15 rebounds. Riverhead’s next leading scorer was Amanda Baron with 8 points. Ligon had 6 assists to go with 5 points.

Prior to the game, a moment of silence was observed in memory of Riverhead High School student Danielle Lawrence and her mother, Tanya, who were both killed in their Wading River home Sunday night. Her mother’s boyfriend, Thomas Calhoun, allegedly shot them before killing himself, according to police.

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