WILDCATS 53, TUCKERS 20
The question had to be asked: What doesn’t Courtney Clasen do on the basketball court?
Clasen, a sophomore guard for the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team, has a remarkably balanced game. She can score. She can rebound. She can pass. She can dribble.
On Thursday, Clasen did all of the above and more as the Wildcats rolled over Mattituck, 53-20, in a non-league game at Mattituck High School.
By the time Clasen walked off the court and headed to the bench with 6 minutes 43 seconds left to play in the rout, she had accumulated quite an impressive statistical line: 12 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot.
Not bad for a day’s work.
“That’s pretty typical,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Dennis Haughney said. “She’s a really good athlete. She can do a little bit of everything.”
Not that numbers mean a whole lot to Clasen, a team-oriented player in her second varsity season. She said she had learned “not to worry about the stats, just have fun.”
It surely looked like Clasen and her teammates were having fun as Shoreham-Wading River coasted to its fifth win in eight games. The Wildcats are already halfway to clinching a seventh straight playoff berth with a 3-0 record in Suffolk County League VI.
“It’s what we always aim for at the end of the year — playoffs,” said Clasen.
Shoreham-Wading River, a Class A team that had played in county semifinals the last four years, looked revved up for its final game of the calendar year. Meghan King scored 9 of her team-leading 13 points during a 21-0 run that gave Shoreham-Wading River a crippling 48-14 lead about midway through the fourth quarter. The Wildcats shot 8 for 14 from the field during that spurt.
“Nothing fell for us,” Mattituck forward Nicole Murphy said. “It didn’t feel real. The game didn’t feel real at all.”
The reality was that Shoreham-Wading River opened the contest with a 10-0 lead. The Wildcats held Mattituck (5-4, 2-1 League VII) to a season-low scoring output and 22.9-percent (8 of 35) shooting from the field. Shoreham-Wading River also enjoyed a 44-30 rebounding advantage. On the offensive boards, the Wildcats held a 21-9 superiority.
Shannon Rosati added 9 points to Shoreham-Wading River’s cause.
“You might want to burn the film on this one,” Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood said. “That’s a good way to look at it, but there were so many glaring errors that it’s kind of hard to overlook.”
Shoreham-Wading River’s defense already looks playoff ready. The Wildcats stole the ball 16 times and forced Mattituck into committing 24 turnovers. In contrast, Shoreham-Wading River turned the ball over nine times.
“I think we played sharp,” Haughney said. “You can tell by the effort defensively that we came to play.”
The final non-league game of the season for Mattituck was one the Tuckers would rather forget.
“Honestly,” Murphy said, “I sat on the bench, like, ‘What is happening?’ I sat there with my mouth open and was in disbelief at half the stuff that happened.”
Only four Tuckers made it into the scoring column, led by Shannon Dwyer with 6 points. It was a stunner for a team that had been averaging 56 points per game, but Mattituck wasn’t driving to the basket, and it certainly wasn’t getting bounces to go its way.
“Shots were not dropping,” Van Dood said. “Everything, missed layups, missed chip shots clanging in and out. That’s the story of the game sometimes, unfortunately. Some nights you get all the bounces and all the rolls, and other nights you just don’t get anything.”
It took Mattituck 4:45 to finally get on the scoreboard thanks to an Alex Berkoski layup. The Tuckers didn’t hit double figures until Berkoski knocked down a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the second quarter.
“It was a combination of us not shooting, us not boxing out, and making some bad passes,” Van Dood said. “That’s going to kill you every time.”
Murphy said the game was a setback and a wakeup call for Mattituck.
“We will be playing better,” she promised. “We’re going to be working harder, a lot harder, so nobody should have to come and see a game like that again.”