SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B FINAL | BAYMEN 58, TUCKERS 44
Alexis Fotopoulos is one of those talented basketball players who is going to get her points one way or another. On Tuesday she scored 33 of them.
Fotopoulos, a sophomore already in her fourth varsity season with Hampton Bays, has an uncanny knack for putting the ball in the basket. Despite Mattituck’s efforts in the Suffolk County Class B final, Fotopoulos kept finding ways to get to the basket. She defied the odds with one shot in the second quarter when she managed to score a layup while falling to the floor. Another time, she evaded a thicket of Mattituck arms to scoop in a layup.
By the time the game at Northport High School was over, Fotopoulos had a career-high 33 points and top-seeded Hampton Bays had its first county championship since 2008.
“She did what she had to do,” said Hampton Bays coach Pat McGunnigle.
The 58-44 final score, with its 14-point margin (tied for the largest of the game), is a bit misleading. Most of the contest was much closer than that.
Top-seeded Hampton Bays (18-2), the League VII champion, pulled in front for the final time when Hannah Reed dropped in a 3-pointer from the corner, making it 32-30 late in the third quarter.
It was still a 3-point game when one of Hampton Bays’ seniors, Patricia Liotta, went down in obvious pain, hurting her right knee with 7 minutes 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Liotta had to be helped to the bench. After the game, McGunnigle said he didn’t know the extent of Liotta’s injury.
It sure seemed as if Liotta’s fall had an inspirational affect on the Baymen. “They won it for her,” said McGunnigle.
Hampton Bays finished strong, thanks largely to Fotopoulos, who lit up the scoreboard, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter.
A conventional 3-point play by Fotopoulos with 5:21 to go pushed Hampton Bays’ lead to double digits for the first time at 43-33. It was part of a 13-0 run that was nearly matched when the Baymen closed out the game on an 11-2 blast.
“They just kept making all their shots,” Mattituck guard Katie Hoeg said. “ … They just had momentum their way.”
The 5-foot-7 Fotopoulos, who has 1,034 career points to her credit, wears uniform No. 4. She nearly had to switch numbers during the third quarter when officials stopped the game because she had blood on her jersey from a bloody nose. At first, Fotopoulos put on a borrowed No. 1 jersey from teammate Krystmarie Ceri, but during the delay the blood was cleaned off her No. 4 and she was allowed to continue wearing her familiar number.
Fotopoulos put up some familiar numbers herself, shooting 10 of 20 from the field, 2 of 5 from 3-point territory, and 13 of 18 from the free-throw line. She also had 5 rebounds and 5 steals.
To prepare for playing against Fotopoulos, the Tuckers practiced the day before with Jon Dwyer, a member of the Mattituck boys basketball team, playing the role of Fotopoulos.
“We held her pretty good in the beginning,” Mattituck forward Shannon Dwyer said of Tuesday’s game. “Then it got a little tough.”
The Tuckers (13-7) wanted to prevent Fotopoulos from driving into the paint.
“We had our game plan,” Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood said. “We stuck to our game plan. It worked for us for three and half quarters, and after that it just fell apart on us.”
Hampton Bays made 20 of 27 free throws and controlled the boards, outrebounding No. 3 Mattituck by 39-20.
It didn’t help Mattituck’s cause that its leading scorer during the regular season, Tiana Baker, was in foul trouble for almost the whole game. Baker picked up her fourth personal foul 1:47 into the third quarter. She didn’t foul out, but Shannon Dwyer did, with 2:10 to go in the game.
Liz Dwyer was Mattituck’s top scorer with 15 points.
Reacting to the county title, Fotopoulos said: “It’s great. We all wanted it. We talked about it all season long, and we just did it.”
Apparently there were nothing but dry eyes in the Tuckers’ dressing room after the game.
“We lost the game, but not one of our girls cried because we all know we left it all out on the court,” Shannon Dwyer said. “There is nothing more we could have done.”