Jalyn Brown was waiting for this game since the end of last season. The Riverhead senior point guard remembers two losses to North Babylon, including one in double overtime, and because of that, she was nervous.
One could hardly tell. Brown scored a career-high 28 points and had seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists as Riverhead defeated host North Babylon, 75-43, Tuesday night in Suffolk League III girls basketball.
Shanice Allen had 17 points and seven steals, Melodee Riley had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, and Kaila-Riane Nazario added 11 points and eight rebounds for Riverhead (7-1, 2-0).
It was the first time Riverhead defeated North Babylon (2-4, 1-1) since 2001.
"I was nervous they could beat us again,'' Brown said. "I had to shake the nerves and play my game. I really thought it was going to be a tight game. For their non-league games, they played the best of the best. I thought they would be really prepared. We came out blazing.''
Brown hit three three-pointers during the first quarter. She went 8-for-10 from the foul line along with a basket in the second, giving her 19 points as Riverhead led 42-22 at halftime.
"I think she felt she had a lot to prove,'' Riverhead coach Dave Spinella said. "She plays with a lot of their players on AAU and a lot of them get recognition that she doesn't. I think she has a little chip on her shoulder and feels she can compete with the best, and our team feels that way, too.''
Allen scored eight points in a 16-2 run to open the second half that gave Riverhead a 58-24 lead.
North Babylon was one of the preseason favorites in Suffolk Class AA, while Riverhead was one of the teams thought to be in the mix for the final four.
"This is an exciting win for our team and program," Spinella said. "This is what we wanted to do."
Riverhead led 16-13 early in the second quarter before its press flustered the Bulldogs, leading to steals, layups and free throws.
"We played perfectly," Spinella said. "We defended very well. Our press hasn't been this good all year."
Riverhead didn't lose a player to graduation and has won seven straight.
"Everybody played well and worked as a team," Riley said. "This is our time. Riverhead is here."