TUCKERS 50, RED DEVILS 41
The Mattituck High School girls basketball team accomplished a lot on Thursday evening. Not only did the Tuckers do their part in the fight against cancer, but they scored an impressive defeat of a first-place team and pulled to within one win of clinching a playoff berth.
Not bad for a day’s work.
A tenacious defense held Suffolk County League VII leader Center Moriches to 5 points in the first quarter, and a career-high 20 points from freshman guard Tiana Baker helped power the Tuckers to their fourth straight win, 50-41, in a Coaches vs. Cancer game at Mattituck High School. The Tuckers (9-5, 4-2) have a 6-1 record in Coaches vs. Cancer games. They need only one win from their four remaining league games in order to secure a place in the playoffs.
In a gym decorated for the occasion, the Tuckers wore pink shirts during pregame warmups. Then, during a pregame ceremony, Mattituck players, cheerleaders and coach Steve Van Dood each announced a cancer victim who they were performing for.
Once the game started, the Tuckers were ready. After Caroline Casey opened the game with a basket for Center Moriches (6-6, 6-1), Mattituck ran off the next 14 points, with 6 of those points coming from Liz Dwyer. The only other points Center Moriches scored in the opening quarter were from a 3-pointer by Tori Fahie late in the quarter.
Center Moriches never led again, although a steal by Fahie set up a Claire Brady layup for an 8-2 spurt that pulled the Red Devils to within 16-13.
Then Mattituck reeled off 12 straight points, half of them coming from Baker, to pull away further.
Baker canned a buzzer-beating shot at the close of the third quarter as part of a 14-1 run that left the Tuckers with a lead that had swollen to 23 points at 44-21 early in the fourth quarter.
It was too much for Center Moriches to recover from, especially the way the Red Devils were shooting. They had trouble finding the basket, shooting a dismal 27.4 percent (17 of 62) from the field to Mattituck’s 45.3 percent (24 of 53). The Tuckers blocked 10 shots and outrebounded Center Moriches, 44-29.
Center Moriches scored the game’s final 13 points to make the final score more respectable, but the result was safe in Mattituck’s hand by the time that run started.
Mattituck received 14 points apiece from sisters Shannon and Liz Dwyer. Shannon Dwyer, who hit 7 of 15 field-goal attempts, also accounted for 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks.
Katie Hoeg, who played wearing a pink headband, was the only other Mattituck player to score. She was held to 2 points, but she grabbed 14 rebounds.
Brady, who shot 5 of 9 from the field, led Center Moriches with 13 points.
Center Moriches, which had won three of its previous four games, had defeated Mattituck by 8 points the last time the teams met on Dec. 20.