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05/07/18 8:28pm
05/07/2018 8:28 PM

Before Riverhead can fully devote its attention to the high school girls lacrosse playoffs — the second season, if you will — it still has some business to attend to: closing out the first season.

The Blue Waves have won eight of their last nine games, with two regular-season games remaining — a home game against Northport, which started Monday in first place in Suffolk County Division I with 13-0, 11-0 records, and a contest at Commack Friday. READ

03/28/14 8:56pm
03/28/2014 8:56 PM
Ryan Hubbard shot in four of his five goals in the first quarter, helping Riverhead to a 10-0 lead against Longwood. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Ryan Hubbard shot in four of his five goals in the first quarter, helping Riverhead to a 10-0 lead against Longwood. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


Senior attackman Ryan Hubbard scored four of his five goals in the first quarter to spark Riverhead to an 18-6 boys lacrosse win over host Longwood on Friday night.

Hubbard struck 40 seconds into the Suffolk County Division I match and had a hat trick after only 94 seconds for the Blue Waves (1-2, 1-1) against the Lions (0-4, 0-2).

Ben Weir contributed three goals and two assists and Dan Czelatka had three goals as the Blue Waves used their reserves freely throughout the contest.

The Blue Waves grabbed a 10-0 first-quarter lead before Longwood tallied.

Riverhead has two important divisional games next week — at East Islip on Thursday and Smithtown West, arguably the best team in the county, at home on Saturday.

02/15/13 9:13pm
02/15/2013 9:13 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Markim Austin drives to the basket against two Longwood defenders Thursday in the Class AA first round playoff game.


The loss itself stung.

The missed opportunity hurt even worse.

A pile of jerseys lay on the floor inside the locker room Friday night for the final time this season as coach John Rossetti reflected on the Blue Waves’ 61-51 first-round playoff loss to Longwood in front of a capacity crowd at Riverhead High School.

“I feel like I let the community down today,” Rossetti said.

A few minutes later, when Rossetti learned No. 4 Central Islip had been upset by No. 20 Huntington, he slammed his right hand onto the bench, the frustration boiling over. If the Blue Waves had pulled out a win against the Lions, another home game would have awaited Tuesday against the lowest-ranked team in the Class AA bracket.

Instead, it’ll be the Lions (12-6) advancing with an unexpected home game in the quarterfinals.

For the Blue Waves, the quick exit out of the playoffs marked the end of a remarkable season that saw them win their first league championship since 1997.

“I told [the players] after the game, it’s going to sting for a little bit,” Rossetti said. “But when these kids look back on their careers when they’re 10 years out of high school, no one can take away from them that they’re league champs. That’s going to last with them forever.”

Even as a No. 5 seed, the Blue Waves (15-4) faced an arduous task in the first round against a battle-tested Longwood team that went 8-5 in arguably the most competitive league in the county. Brentwood and William Floyd also advanced into the quarterfinals.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Deon Shorter chipped in six points off the bench for Riverhead Friday.

And the Lions know a thing or two about winning in the postseason. Friday’s win marked the eighth straight year they’ve advanced into the quarterfinals. In that time they’ve played in two county finals (’09, ’10). The Lions knocked off the Blue Waves in the first round in 2011 as well before advancing to the semifinals.

“A lot of pride,” said Longwood coach Pierce Hayes, whose team had opened the playoffs at home in each of the past seven seasons. “Coming out of League I, which was awesome this year, I mean everybody was good.”

The Lions jumped out on Riverhead with a 10-0 run to open the game and the Blue Waves could never close the gap all the way.

All season the Blue Waves have played their best in the third quarter, and they needed another big one Friday. In what was a wildly entertaining quarter, the Blue Waves trimmed the deficit down to three going into the fourth at 45-42 when junior Brandon Tolliver sank a pair of free throws with :36.9 left.

“Usually that third quarter surge we carry over into the fourth,” Rossetti said. “But I think we hit a wall.”

Longwood opened up the fourth on a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Latrell Washington, who had a huge day with 21 points. He drilled another corner three to seal the victory with 2:03 left that extended the Lions’ lead to 15, the largest of the night.

“They’re a very good team,” Hayes said. “We kind of wore them down a bit. But they never quit.”

The Lions looked to push the pace against Riverhead, and Washington ignited the offense.

“That was our game plan,” Hayes said. “Our guards are our strength. We like to get the ball down the court and get it off quick.”

Longwood shot 6-for-17 (35 percent) from beyond the arc. Washington, who hit seven in a 32-point game to end the regular season, connected on four treys. Emmanuel Ferreira hit the other two as part of his 21-point game. Riverhead shot 1-for-10 from three.

The Lions have averaged 5.2 threes per game.

“We take a lot of threes, but we don’t always make them like today,” Hayes said. “Today we were on. The kids were focused.”

The Blue Waves got a team-high 14 points from senior Markim Austin and 11 from senior Ryan Bitzer. Tolliver added eight and Jeremiah Cheatom had seven. The loss snapped a six-game win streak for Riverhead.

The teams combined for 40 points in the third quarter. The Blue Waves were able to get out in transition some and beat Longwood’s press to get a few easy hoops. In one flurry, Washington converted a three-point play before Austin answered on the other end with a three-point play of his own five seconds later to get the Blue Waves back within four.

“You got to give them credit,” Rossetti said. “They hit open shots. In games like this it’s the team that hits the open shots that’s going to win.”

Longwood handed Riverhead its worst loss of the regular season Dec. 8, 60-41. But the Lions knew that game wasn’t a fair representation of what the Blue Waves look like now. Three of Riverhead’s starters were only a week off of football season for that game.

Hayes said maintaing the lead during each of Riverhead’s runs Friday came down to toughness.

“That’s always been our quest this year — to be a tough team,” he said. “We haven’t always lived up to that expectation, but tonight we did.”

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12/06/10 7:44pm
12/06/2010 7:44 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Elliot Jones registered a 742 series for Riverhead with game scores of 239, 266 and 237.

The new blue and white bowling shirts that the Riverhead High School boys bowling team broke out on Monday go well with their improved game.

This group of Blue Waves could make a case for themselves being the best Riverhead team in a long time. Given the one-sided results in this early season, who could argue the point?

In its opening two matches of the season, Riverhead has won five of six games and earned 52 points. That includes a 28-5 defeat of the Longwood Lions in a Suffolk County League III match at Wildwood Lanes on Monday. Riverhead swept the three games, 1,004-955, 1,076-982, and 996-873.

What was most impressive?

Was it Elliot Jones’ three-game series of 742? Was it the 86 strikes and 53 spares that Riverhead picked up? Or was it the fact that 10 of the 15 individual games bowled by Riverhead’s five senior starters were 202 or higher?

“I think we look great this year,” Riverhead senior Travis Walker said. “We’ve progressed every year. This is our golden year. We worked hard for this.”

The results are showing what that work has gone toward.

Jones, a senior who is in his sixth season on the team, said this is the best of the squads he has bowled for.

“We’re moving on up,” he said. “We’ve all been on the team for years. We all grew together. We all help each other out … and we’ve all just gotten better.”

The scores tell the tale. Jones strung together a 239, 266 and 237 with the aid of 26 strikes and nine spares on Monday.

Walker totaled a 611 series (185, 212, 214) and Anthony Trent a 605 (225, 228, 152) for Riverhead. Trent opened the second game with six straight strikes before he left three pins standing with his seventh ball.

Riverhead’s other two starters didn’t do badly, either. Adam Vail rolled a 572 series highlighted by a 202 and a 220, and Jonathan Horton had a 546 series.

“All of these guys have been bowling for a long time,” Riverhead Coach Scott Hackal said. “We don’t miss easy spares. For the most part, we make our one-pin spares. That used to kill us when we were younger. And now we’re able to throw strikes.”

He isn’t kidding. Jones wasn’t the only Riverheader throwing strikes on Monday. Trent and Walker recorded 17 apiece, Vail had 14 and Horton 13.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | A. J. Melvin was Longwood's top bowler on Monday with a 635 series.

Longwood, which split the six games from its first two matches, took 33 points from those matches. Against Riverhead, the Lions received a 635 series from A. J. Melvin (215, 235, 185) and 614 series from both Sean Caspar (215, 208, 191) and Zach Monette (182, 214, 218). Melvin had 19 strikes and 12 spares, both team highs.

Jones, one of the top bowlers in the county who entered the match with a 241.7 average, bumped that average up to 244.5 on Monday. “He’s a machine,” said Hackal.

Jones bowled a 278 in Riverhead’s season-opening match, a 24-9 win over the Ward Melville Patriots at Port Jeff Bowl on Nov. 30. He said minor adjustments have helped him.

“I’m a little better on my spares now,” Jones said. “I don’t miss easy spares as much. I throw a little faster, which helps me out because I get more on the ball.”

Riverhead has never won the League III title before, but looks to be in contention this season. The Blue Waves will face stiff competition, particularly from the defending league champion Sachem East Flaming Arrows, who qualified for the state tournament last season. But Hackal believes his team can be competitive with any other team in the county, and his bowlers seem to think likewise.

“I think we bowled good,” Walker said after Monday’s match. “I think the next game is going to be better and the games after that, it’s just going to keep getting better. We’re going to progress throughout the year.”

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