They had faith in Faith.
When the game is on the line, the Riverhead Blue Waves know who to go to — Faith Johnson-DeSilvia.
“She’s actually really good at that, taking these last-minute shots and making them,” teammate Kate McCarney said. “So, I had faith in her. I knew she was going to make it.”
Which the senior guard did — with 6.2 seconds remaining in the game to boost Riverhead to a dramatic 50-49 triumph at Central Islip in a Suffolk County League II girls basketball game Tuesday.
After dropping a tough 72-66 decision at Walt Whitman on Jan. 2, the Blue Waves (6-2, 2-1) needed a win as they played their fourth consecutive road game.
“The game should have not been that close,” said Johnson-DeSilvia, who scored 21 points. “We are so much better than the way we played tonight. But we did play amazing defense the last four minutes of the game.”
That included forcing the hosts into several turnovers in the waning minutes, and a 30-second shot clock violation with the game tied at 47-all with 1:42 left.
That just set up one fantastic finish.
Senior guard Naabea Assibey-Bonsu (game-high 23 points), sank two foul shots with 15.9 to lift Central Islip into a 49-48 edge.
After the Musketeers (5-7, 3-1) knocked the Riverhead pass out of bounds, McCarney (10 points) inbounded underneath her basket, considering several options with 8.9 seconds left.
“I’m also thinking if it should call timeout,” she said. “It’s stressful, but I did it. You don’t think about it.”
McCarney saw an open Johnson-DeSilvia open on the right side.
“She was one of the options that could have been open,” she said. “We wanted something else, but she was open, so it was there.”
Johnson-DeSilvia put up a 10-foot jump shot that swished the net with 6.2 seconds left.
“I was so zoned in,” she said. “I was like, just get me a ball so I can shoot it because I almost caused a turnover the play before. Give me one more chance to shoot it.”
Central Islip quickly inbounded the ball and raced down court. Point guard Kiara Rodriguez (16 points), who was outstanding on playmaking and driving shots, missed on her shot. The final buzzer sounded and the Blue Waves bench raced onto the court to celebrate.
Asked what her reaction was on the shot, Johnson-DeSilvia replied, “I didn’t have one. It was a regular jump shot. I showed no emotion. I was just happy it went in.
“It’s such a thrill, just to see everybody go crazy that you made the last shot.”
Riverhead coach Kenny Coard said Johnson-DeSilvia “wasn’t 100 percent, but she gave us what she had. She wasn’t feeling well.”
“She’s a clutch player,” he added. “She’s an unbelievable player. I think she’s underrated. I think she’s one of the best point guards on Long Island. She gave us everything she had tonight.”
The Blue Waves held a 10-point advantage for most of the opening half before the Musketeers whittled it to 40-38 by the end of the fourth quarter.
The game turned into a see-saw affair in the fourth quarter as the lead changed hands eight times and was tied on three occasions.
“We’re the type of team that pushes the ball non-stop,” Coard said. “We defend 94 feet, non-stop. We got fatigued. When you get fatigued, you’re supposed to rest on offense, but we rested a little on defense and we made some defensive lapses where they got wide open easy shots. We were able to fix that down the stretch.”
Thanks to defense and because the Blue Waves had Faith.