LINDENHURST TOURNAMENT FINAL | TUCKERS 62, WARRIORS 56
It was going to take a good high school girls basketball team to beat Amityville in the Lindenhurst Tournament final on Thursday night. It was going to take a team with athleticism and speed that can run the floor. It was going to take a team with shooters and rebounders who can make defensive stops difficult. It was going to take a team that can wreak havoc with its press and force turnovers.
It was going to take a team like, well, Mattituck.
As tough as those defensive stops may have been, the Tuckers made enough of them down the stretch to hold off Amityville and triumph, 62-56, in an entertaining, well-played contest. The young Tuckers (2-0) showed poise that belied their years. Although they trailed for much of the game, it was close the whole way. The biggest margin was 8 points when Amityville (1-1) surged to a 12-4 lead at the start. After that, the score was tied six times and there were 12 lead changes.
The last of those lead changes came early in the fourth quarter when the first of back-to-back buckets by Tiana Baker — part of an 8-0 run to open the quarter — put the Tuckers ahead, 46-44. Mattituck maintained enough separation, thanks to 10 fourth-quarter points by Shannon Dwyer. Dwyer, the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half. The senior forward also had 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 steal.
Three other Tuckers hit double figures. Baker, an impressive freshman shooting guard, finished with 15 points. Katie Hoeg had 11 points to go with 10 rebounds, and Molly Kowalski produced 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal.
One of Mattituck’s starters, Christine Bieber, left the game in the second quarter and did not return. Coach Steve Van Dood said Bieber lost a contact lens. Samantha Perino replaced her and did well, as did another role player off the bench, Liz Dwyer, Shannon’s younger sister.
Amityville, a Class A team that managed only three wins last season, is obviously improved. The Warriors’ talented senior point guard, Shawná Thornton, proved to be a handful, with her penetrating drives, passing and shooting touch. She finished with a remarkable statistical line, just two steals shy of a quadruple-double: 21 points, 13 assists, 11 rebounds and 8 steals.
Her back-court partner, N’Dea Maddox, added 18 points.
Amityville coach Shabue Mosley said poor shot selection hurt his team in the fourth quarter. The Warriors shot 5 of 19 in the final period and 32.9 percent for the game. That included 2 for 20 from 3-point range.
Mattituck was more efficient on offense, sinking 46.4 percent of its field-goal attempts.
In Mattituck’s opening-round game the day before, it trailed by 6 points in the fourth quarter before recovering for a 50-44 victory over Our Lady of Mercy. Shannon Dwyer sank 5 of 6 free throws in the fourth quarter as part of her 17-point performance. Hoeg supplied 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Our Lady of Mercy won the consolation game on Thursday, beating host Lindenhurst, 44-25.
After Thursday’s final, the tournament’s championship trophy was handed to Van Dood, who immediately passed it on to his players. Baker and Hoeg were selected to the all-tournament team along with Shannon Dwyer.
The smiling Tuckers, who had lost to Lindenhurst in last year’s tournament final, had a long bus ride home Thursday night as they headed out of the Lindenhurst High School gym. The hardware they were carrying with them undoubtedly made it worth the trip.