Haven’t we been here before?
Yes, we have. Well, not literally. Last year this game was at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. On Monday it was at SUNY/Old Westbury. But it was the same stage of the playoffs (a Long Island Class B girls basketball final), with the same two teams (Mattituck and Carle Place) and, yes, the same result (a Mattituck victory).
Of course, what was different was how it was achieved.
It was about a half-dozen years ago when someone brought Steve Van Dood’s attention to a fifth-grade girl playing soccer on the playground. It was the way she was playing that was interesting.
Van Dood recalled: “She was just bowling over boys, knocking kids over, and I was like, ‘That’s the toughness that we need on our basketball team later down the road.’ ”
Even before a ball was kicked at Scraggy Hill Field in Port Jefferson Tuesday afternoon, Mattituck High School girls soccer coach Rafael Morais knew his team could be in for a long afternoon.
Not only is Port Jefferson the defending state Class C champion, but it is loaded again.
Navigating the Suffolk County Class C girls lacrosse playoffs this year is like walking through a minefield. One misstep and — ka-boom!
Just look at that field: Bayport-Blue Point. Mount Sinai. Shoreham-Wading River. Mattituck/Greenport/Southold. Babylon.
The Mattituck Tuckers have dug their spoon deeper into the alphabet soup known as the Suffolk County high school girls basketball tournament, and they like the taste of those ABCs.