Riverhead's Shanice Allen (23) drives to the hoop from the...

Riverhead's Shanice Allen (23) drives to the hoop from the top of the key in the first half. Riverhead defeated Copiague 53-47. (Dec. 22, 2011) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Shanice Allen felt she couldn't lose.

The Riverhead guard was thinking "just one more, just one more," as her team chipped away at a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

"I just had to go," Allen said. "[I] had to play with confidence. Don't get nervous, don't throw the ball away -- just keep going."

Allen had 12 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter, including eight in a row, as host Riverhead came back to defeat Copiague, 53-47, in Suffolk non-league girls basketball Thursday afternoon.

The Blue Waves (5-1) trailed 43-31 after three quarters but started the fourth on an 8-2 run to cut the gap in half. That's when Allen took over, driving down the lane over and over again. She lost the ball only to steal it back before making her third straight bucket to tie the score at 45 with 4:08 remaining.

Allen's defensive intensity increased with every basket. She added six rebounds and six steals, including one which led to a breakaway to put Riverhead up for good at 47-45 with 2:20 left.

"Everyone get out of the way and let her go to work," Riverhead coach Dave Spinella said. "It's like a heat check -- just going until they stop it . . . She was able to do what she wanted."

Allen had by far her best game of the season in part because Riverhead was without senior point guard Jalyn Brown (sickness).

"That was a great test for us without our point guard," Spinella said. "For everyone else to come over and step up, it was a good family effort today."

The Blue Waves had been trailing from midway through the first quarter but closed the game with an authoritative 22-4 fourth quarter. Allen came up with another steal at midcourt to set up Melodee Riley (nine points), which gave Riverhead a 51-45 lead with 40.5 seconds to go.

Copiague (2-2) was dominant at times, leading by as many as 13 points (36-23) in the third quarter. Cypher McCloud went out with a leg injury late in the third which took away some of Copiague's rebounding presence.

"I think it comes down to a lack of maturity, lack of discipline and we didn't have any leadership in the fourth quarter," Copiague coach Carole Olsen said.

Tracey McFadden had 15 points and Mikaiya Moore added 11 points for the Eagles.

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