The calendar might have said December, but the atmosphere inside the Riverhead High School gymnasium on Monday night was February — as in playoff intensity.
Even though it was a non-league game, the Riverhead and Smithtown West girls teams battled as though their postseason lives were on the line.
As well as the Blue Waves played, they could not overcome some last-second heroics by the Bulls.
Gabby Lorefice sank a long 3-point shot with one second remaining in the game to lift Smithtown West to a dramatic and thrilling 57-56 overtime triumph over Riverhead.
Only seconds prior, junior guard Faith Johnson-DeSilvia (team-high 19 points) had given Riverhead (1-2) a two-point lead by canning 10-foot basket on the right side with four seconds left.
Blue Waves sophomore forward Kristina Dunn (9 points) had forced OT by converting a bucket with 9.9 seconds remaining in regulation to knot the game up at 47-all.
The Bulls (1-2) had one last chance to win it in regulation as Gabby Horman (13 points, 15 ebounds) missed a shot and Johnson-DeSilvia rebounded as time ran out.
After the Blue Waves rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the second quarter, the lead changed hands 10 times from the middle of the third quarter to the final whistle.
Riverhead junior guard Kate McCarney (eight points) hit two big buckets, including a 3-pointer, during overtime. Mary Reiter added 11 points.
Jillian Unkenholz added 13 points for the Bulls.
The Blue Waves next plays a non-league game at 2 p.m. Saturday against Copiague before visiting Half Hollow Hills West for their League II opener on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.
Photo caption: Riverhead’s Faith Johnson-DeSilvia takes a hit from Natalie Condzal Tuesday. (Credit: Garret Meade)