11/20/14 9:33pm
11/20/2014 9:33 PM
Mattituck's only two seniors, Lisa Angell, left, and Courtney Murphy, during Thursday's practice. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck’s only two seniors, Lisa Angell, left, and Courtney Murphy, during Thursday’s practice. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The sound of thumping basketballs and sneakers squeaking on the court echoed off the walls of the Mattituck High School gym. Basketball is back, but Tiana Baker isn’t.

The Mattituck Tuckers have undergone a major face-lift. Not only do they no longer have the graduated Shannon Dwyer, but their other all-conference player from last season, Baker, is gone, too. The sophomore shooting guard, one of Suffolk County’s rising talents, has transferred to St. Anthony’s High School.

Talk about taking a punch in the gut.

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09/29/14 8:08pm
09/29/2014 8:08 PM
Bishop McGann-Mercy's Dayna Young (10) and Mattituck's Alex Beebe running neck and neck for a ball. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Dayna Young (10) and Mattituck’s Alex Beebe running neck and neck for a ball. (Credit: Garret Meade)

TUCKERS 2, MONARCHS 1 (OT)

Courtney Murphy seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time when she is on the soccer field. That was surely the case on Monday when the Mattituck left midfielder toe poked in the game-winning goal for a 2-1 overtime triumph over Bishop McGann-Mercy.

A long throw-in by Madison Kent trickled across the penalty area where Murphy managed to get the tip of her cleat to the ball before onrushing goalkeeper Juliana Cintron-Leonardo could get to it 3 minutes 31 seconds into overtime at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field in Riverhead. (more…)

12/01/13 5:00pm
12/01/2013 5:00 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Courtney Murphy, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle, shot on the side during Monday's practice.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Courtney Murphy, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle, shot on the side during Monday’s practice.

While her Mattituck teammates drilled and scrimmaged on the basketball court during Monday’s practice, Courtney Murphy was off to the side, doing her own thing.

“Oh, how I’d love to be out there,” Murphy said. “I’d give anything to be out there right now.”

As it is, Murphy is hampered by a left ankle that is sprained in two places. She sustained the injuries while playing soccer this fall.

“It’s been almost six weeks and it’s still not healed,” she said. “This first week [of practice] is like a test week to see how much I can handle. … It’s still not where I would like it to be and it’s frustrating to wait. I have to wait for it to get better.”

In the meantime, Murphy jogs a little, does some shooting on a side basket and dribbles a lot “just because I need to do something,” said the junior forward, who wears a brace on the ankle that she ices after practices. “I can’t just sit and not do anything.”

Murphy is anxious to hit the court at full strength and compete for a starting position. Last season she was one of the first players off the bench along with Molly Kowalski.

The Tuckers return six players from last season’s 11-8 playoff team. Another six players are new to the team. Shannon Dwyer, a senior forward, and Katie Hoeg, a sophomore point guard, are the only returning starters.

That being the case, there are positions to be won, and the competition is expected to be tight.

“It’s all up for grabs,” Kowalski said. “You really have to earn it.”

As Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood put it, the Tuckers are “young, young and inexperienced.”

And by that, he meant inexperienced at the high school varsity level. They are not new to basketball.

“All the girls we have are all year-round players, every single one of them,” Van Dood said. “They all play the summer league, do the right things.”

Mattituck had the third-ranked offense in Suffolk County last season when it averaged about 54 points per game. What the Tuckers lost in height they have gained in speed. They are athletic and quick, which is why they will turn up the speed this season. That means steals, pressing defense and transition basketball. A new rule change requiring teams to advance the ball over the mid-court line in 10 seconds suits the Tuckers just fine.

“We can probably create some turnovers in the front court and do well that way,” Van Dood said. “It’s an exciting game to watch.”

Speaking of excitement, Dwyer is an exciting player to watch. Last season she was 14th in the county in scoring average with about 14 points per game.

“That’s going to be our player right there,” Van Dood said, looking on as Dwyer drove the lane for a layup during a scrimmage. “She is unbelievable.”

Sam Perino can shoot from the outside while Murphy and Kowalski provide an inside presence. Tiana Baker, who was the junior varsity team’s leading scorer last season, may also be a key figure in the offense.

The Tuckers, however, took a hit with the graduation of Allie Wilcenski, their top rebounder.

“They got to share the rebounding,” Van Dood said. “Allie was double-doubles every game almost last year, so we’re going to miss Allie on the boards.”

Murphy likes what she has seen from the team through the first several practices. “I think we look really good,” she said. “They have a lot of talent and a lot of potential to work with. … I’m excited for this season. I think we can do some great things.”

It wasn’t all that long ago when Kowalski was one of the newcomers on the team. Now she is one of the veterans.

“It’s different because Courtney, Katie and I, we kind of were the young ones a few years ago,” she said. “… It’s weird to think that we’re on the other end now.”

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12/04/12 7:32pm
12/04/2012 7:32 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Courtney Murphy of Mattituck taking on an Our Lady of Mercy defender.

LINDENHURST TOURNAMENT | TUCKERS 51, LADY MUSTANGS 41

Two games into the high school girls basketball season, the Mattituck Tuckers have learned a couple of valuable things about themselves. Not only can they win without Lauren Guja, but they can come back from a sizable deficit to win.

Mattituck, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, recovered to take a 51-41 triumph over Our Lady of Mercy in the first round of the second annual Lindenhurst Tournament on Tuesday. The Tuckers (1-1) will play host Lindenhurst (1-0) in tomorrow night’s championship game, Lindenhurst was a 52-27 winner over Amityville in its tournament opener. The Bulldogs won last year’s tournament.

“It’s great to see that we can fix our mistakes and come back and we’re a team that can win,” said Mattituck forward Courtney Murphy.

Mattituck took the lead for good when a pair of free throws by Alexa Orlando made the score 29-28 with 3 minutes 59 seconds left in the third quarter. The Tuckers twice stretched that lead to as many as 10 points as momentum swung their way.

After a three-point shot by Our Lady of Mercy’s Gabriella Genna cut Mattituck’s lead to four points at 45-41, Alex Berkoski canned a big jump shot for a 47-41 Tuckers lead.

“That was the dagger,” Our Lady of Mercy coach John Kiffel said. “I mean, if she misses that and we score again, it’s a different game.”

Katie Hoeg and Berkoski both knocked down two free throws apiece in the final minute to seal the victory.

This is a different season for Mattituck, minus Guja. The senior forward, who had been the team’s top player, did not come out for the team this season.

“That was a little bit of a monkey wrench in the system, her not playing, but I think you got to work with who comes, and we’re doing a good job with that,” said Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood.
Guja was a reliable player in the post for the Tuckers, a steady supplier of points and rebounds. But the Tuckers have to put the past behind them and move on.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, shooting over Our Lady of Mercy’s Renee Rios, led Mattituck with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.

“She was definitely a big part, but I think it’s O.K. because our chemistry is good together,” Mattituck forward Shannon Dwyer said. “We miss her, but we can work together. We can get the parts together and make it work.”

They did just that on Tuesday.

Dwyer was a force, leading Mattituck with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists before fouling out with 2:40 to go. Allie Wilcenski added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals.

Samantha Lynch scored 14 first-half points for Our Lady of Mercy (0-2). She didn’t play in the second half because of a cut to her face that required stitches, Lady Mustangs coach John Kiffel said.

As it was, the Lady Mustangs were already without one of their best players, Shannon Brady, a junior point guard who has been a starter since she was a freshman. It is hoped that Brady returns from an ankle injury next week.

“It’s a big miss for us,” said Kiffel.

In Brady’s absence, Marilyn Lehmuller, normally a shooting guard, played the point. The junior provided 11 points and 9 assists.

“Honestly,” Kiffel said, “I thought she played an unbelievable game.”

Our Lady of Mercy also received 12 points from Renee Rios.

Turnovers bedeviled Mattituck in the early going. “We may have been a little frazzled,” Dwyer said. “We got it back.”

The Tuckers made defensive adjustments, throwing a mix of defenses at the Lady Mustangs. Mattituck went from a man-to-man to a 1-3-1 to a full-court press to a 2-2-1. Our Lady of Mercy, which hit on 8 of 14 3-point attempts, was guarded more closely on the perimeter in the second half.

Something else helped Mattituck: free throws. The Tuckers shot 19 of 29 from the foul line. Foul shooting cost Mattituck in its season-opening 45-42 loss to Centereach on Saturday.

“We really emphasized foul shooting, and I think tonight it really paid off,” said Van Dood.

Now the Tuckers are in the win column.

“Just having a win is great,” Courtney Murphy said. “I think as a team overall we played really well today and just having this win under our belts, it boosts our confidence.” She added, “We’re making it work, and it’s really great to see.”

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