TUCKERS 64, ROYALS 54
He is the indispensable one, the single player that the Mattituck High School boys basketball team cannot afford to lose. On Friday night he showed why.
Gene Allen, whose above-the-rim game cannot be duplicated by any of his teammates, put his leaping ability and nose for rebounds to good use as the Tuckers opened their League VII season in winning fashion, 64-54 over visiting Port Jefferson. Allen had a double-double by halftime. The 6-foot-1 senior forward played all 32 minutes, grabbing 22 rebounds to go with 19 points and 5 assists.
Afterward, Port Jefferson coach Keith Buehler, who appreciates good basketball, congratulated Allen on his performance and shook his hand.
Mattituck (3-0, 1-0) is known for its fine guard play and depth in the back court, but it was two of the team’s big bodies, Allen and Chris Dwyer, who made the biggest difference. Dwyer, a junior forward, hit three 3-pointers and dropped in a career-high 21 points.
Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood started the game with three guards in the starting lineup: Will Gildersleeve, Joe Tardif and Parker Tuthill, a sophomore making his first varsity start. That trio combined for 23 points, 12 of them coming from Gildersleeve. Tardif and Tuthill had 6 assists each.
Allen and the Tuckers took charge from the beginning as Mattituck hit 8 of its 13 shots from the field in the first quarter. Port Jefferson (0-2, 0-1), meanwhile, had started off going 3 for 15, and never held the lead.
Allen had 10 points by the time Mattituck built a 19-6 lead early in the second quarter. Perhaps Allen’s most memorable play came on a nifty setup from Tardif in the third quarter when Allen directed in a soft touch shot for a 37-27 lead. The Royals pulled to within 8 points of Mattituck three times in the third quarter, but that was as close as they got.
Port Jefferson kept itself in the game thanks to the play of Cody Steiner (24 points, 10 rebounds) and 20 offensive rebounds. Also, the Royals turned the ball over only four times.
But the Tuckers can put up points, and they did that with 47.4-percent field-goal shooting to Port Jefferson’s 33.3 percent.