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Boys Basketball Notebook: Riverhead PG sets the pace

Some days Cristian Pace may have only a few points scribbled next to his name in the official scorebook. Other days, he will have a lot more. It all depends on the needs of the situation.

Such is the life of a point guard.

Pace understands and seems more than fine with that. The Riverhead High School junior is capable of setting teammates up for baskets or scoring himself. Last season he spent more time as a shooting guard, averaging 13 points per game and being named All-League. Now he is running the offense from the point.

How is his season going?

“Not bad,” he said. “I’m doing my best to get everybody involved. I just want to be more consistent and try and be more consistent every game. I got to dish out to my shooters.”

In addition to directing traffic, Pace brings leadership to the Blue Waves. He said he is more confident and faster than he was a year ago, but what coach John Rossetti may like best is Pace’s mindset. It’s the mindset of a point guard, which Rossetti knows well, having been a point guard himself for Centereach High School.

“He’s a team-first kid,” Rossetti said. “If you think ‘we’ before ‘me,’ good things are going to happen.”

“He’s doing what we ask,” the coach continued. “There are nights when he has to be our leading scorer and there are other nights when he just has to give up the ball, and that’s what makes him tough to play against.”

In an 86-74 non-league loss at Bellport on Dec. 23, for example, Pace turned in a well-rounded game, scoring 18 points to go with eight assists and three rebounds. He is averaging 13 points and six assists per game.

Bellport assistant coach Kai Watkins was impressed with what he saw from Pace.

“He’s very poised,” Watkins said. “He doesn’t get rattled. He seems to lead his team. A lot of what they do runs through him. I think he’s a really good player.”

• A balanced diet of offense

Through nine games, Riverhead’s offense has shown nice balance. Quashiem Miller averaged 14.6 points and nine rebounds per game. “He plays with a lot of heart,” John Rossetti said. “He plays with passion and he rebounds. He gets all the hard-work points.” In addition, Cir’rus Davender (11.3 points), Robert Tyre (8.9) and Zy’Aire Pittman (8.2) have also been contributing to offensive balance along with Cristian Pace. Tyre is also good for eight rebounds and two blocks per game.

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