The perfect record is no more.
Nine games into its high school girls basketball season, Mattituck has finally tasted defeat.
Plucky Port Jefferson refused to fold despite trailing for most of Monday’s game. The Royals, who didn’t take their first lead until the final minute of the third quarter, showed composure down the stretch and eked out a 53-52 triumph over the Tuckers in Port Jefferson.
Port Jefferson took the lead for the fifth and final time when a free throw by Courtney Lewis snapped a 52-52 tie with 21.7 seconds left to play.
The loss left the Tuckers with an 8-1 record, 7-1 in Suffolk County League VII.
The Tuckers saw their last chance to preserve their unbeaten record sail away along with an errant bounce pass that went out of bounds, giving Port Jefferson possession with 14 seconds left.
The Tuckers intentionally fouled a couple of times before time ran out on them. With 1.6 seconds to go, Port Jefferson’s Annabelle Soucy inbounded the ball to Lewis, who held it as time expired.
Port Jefferson (6-3, 3-1), which gained its third straight win, was led by Lewis’ 22 points, 2 points below her average. The junior also collected 10 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots. Teammate Gillian Kenah came down with 15 rebounds.
The Tuckers lost despite strong showings by Katie Hoeg and Liz Dwyer, who combined for 41 of Mattituck’s points. The Tuckers, however, received no point production from their bench.
Hoeg totaled 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. The senior point guard fouled out with 1.6 seconds to go.
Dwyer put up 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. She shot 6 of 17 from the field, making a pair of 3-pointers.
The Tuckers had charged out to a 12-3 lead, but Port Jefferson managed to pull closer and stay close with the Tuckers the rest of the way. A putback by Lewis at the halftime buzzer trimmed Mattituck’s lead to 29-27.
The teams were even at 50-50 following a layup by Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci and a basket by Mattituck’s Corinne Reda in the fourth quarter.
Dwyer sank a pair of free throws with 2:43 remaining for a 52-50 lead.
Port Jefferson tied it up again, beating Mattituck’s press with a quick succession of passes, the last of which, by Kenah, set up a Soucy layup.
Photo caption: Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood talking to his players during a timeout in the first quarter of their game in Port Jefferson. (Credit: Bob Liepa)