Riverhead was the better team through three quarters at North Babylon High School on Thursday in an out-bracket game of the Suffolk County AA playoff bracket.
The fourth quarter, however, was a different story.
No. 13 North Babylon exploded in the fourth quarter after trailing for most of the game. They went on a 23-7 run and blew the game open, knocking off No. 20 Riverhead, 56-41.
The Blue Waves led by as much as five points, three separate times in the game. They were leading 34-33 going into the fourth quarter.
Then North Babylon’s Tyree Grimsley took over. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half. His fast-break slam with five minutes left in the game, electrified the crowd and all but sealed the deal for the Bulldogs, who took their biggest lead of the game at that point extending the deficit to 11 points.
North Babylon’s plan was to force Tyrese Kerr out of the game early on and they were successful. The Bulldogs’ coach kept asking the scoring table how many fouls Kerr had. A couple of iffy calls later, Kerr was sent to the bench with three fouls in the first quarter. He was visibly frustrated taking the last seat of the bench.
Head coach John Rossetti had no choice but to take him out and keep him out until the third quarter. But after starting the second half with his seventh and eighth point of the game, he was whistled for his fourth foul. Kerr ultimately became a non-factor, fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Malik Washington and Steven Asconia did what they could to keep Riverhead afloat scoring 11 points apiece but that fourth quarter performance wasn’t going to produce a victory.
Riverhead played with guts, they just couldn’t finish.
North Babylon will play No. 4 Smithtown West on Saturday.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by George Faella