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Riverhead Knocks Out Ward Melville, Advances to County Semifinals

Girls' basketball team advances to county semifinals with 67-42 win over Ward Melville.

Jalyn Brown reached a milestone on Monday, scoring her 1,000th career point during Riverhead's first-round playoff game against Patchogue-Medford. On Wednesday, Brown added to that total – and this time, helped her team reach a milestone of its own.

With a 67-42 win over sixth-seeded Ward Melville, the Blue Waves are headed to the Suffolk County class AA semifinals for the first time since 1984, when the team was the Section XI champion.

Brown finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals for No. 3 Riverhead (19-1), who will face No. 2 Lindenhurst on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Farmingdale State College.

Riverhead opened the game with a 14-3 run, led 34-22 at halftime, and built up to a 26-point lead after a steal and a layup by Brown made the score 64-38 with 2:32 left in the game.

Senior Melodee Riley totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds and junior Kayla-Riane Nazario had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Riverhead. Junior Shanice Allen added 10 points and Tonilin Ruisi added seven points and seven rebounds for the Blue Waves.

Ward Melville was led by senior point guard Caysea Cohen, who finished with 14 points.

"Caysea Cohen is a good player," Brown said. "We had to adjust to double team her and try to stop her, and meanwhile we had to stop other players, too. My team played as a family tonight and I'm really proud of them."

The game quickly turned physical: both teams were over the foul limit early, players fouled out on both sides, and technical fouls were handed out. A Riverhead gym packed with noisy fans didn't help Ward Melville's cause.

"I think my kids got rattled with the atmosphere, obviously," said Patriots coach Lawrence Combs, who called Riverhead "the best team we played all year" and said the player-to-player mismatches were a problem.

"We couldn't match up with them," Combs said. "I know we've played [No. 1-seeded] Sachem East a couple of times, but athletically, physically, Riverhead's the best team we've seen and we couldn't keep up."

The Blue Waves were without one key component of their team: head coach Dave Spinella, who was charged with two technical fouls in the first half of Riverhead's game against Patchogue-Medford on Monday and was suspended for one game in accordance with Section XI rules.

Assistant coach Jerry Wiesmann, formerly the boys' head coach at Riverhead, said he helped the girls follow through with Spinella's game plan.

"We were ready," Wiesmann said. "We had all day yesterday and this morning to discuss what we were going to do in Dave's absence. It worked out well. It actually went the way I thought it would go."

Box Score

1 2 3 4 Final Ward Melville 5 17 14 6 42 Riverhead 14 20 20 13 67

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