TUCKERS 74, ROYALS 64
Coming off back-to-back defeats to the two powers in Suffolk County League VII boys basketball (a 31-point loss to Babylon and a 30-point loss to Southampton), Mattituck was expecting to get back on the winning track on Tuesday night. The Tuckers got what they were looking for — a win over winless Port Jefferson — but it didn’t come as smoothly as they would have liked.
Despite bolting out to a 26-8 lead and stretching that advantage to as many as 26 points, the Tuckers saw Port Jefferson steadily chop away at that deficit in the second half.
When Dimas Perez made a basket while being fouled with 1 minute 49 seconds left in the game, it cut Port Jefferson’s deficit to single digits for the first time since 2:26 of the first quarter.
If that didn’t make the Tuckers uneasy enough, Port Jefferson twice pulled to within 7 points on free throws by Brian Mark and Kris Cheslock. And then the Royals got even closer when Parker Schoch stole the ball and made a layup, cutting Mattituck’s lead to 69-64 with a little over a minute remaining.
But Will Gildersleeve dropped in 4 of 4 free throws and Ryan Mowdy sank another for the Tuckers to close out a 74-64 win before heading on the bus for the drive back to Mattituck.
Dan Fedun acknowledged that he likes playing against Port Jefferson, and it showed. Fedun had scored a career-high 26 points against the Royals earlier in the season. On Tuesday the junior forward picked up putbacks and layups for 19 points to go with 12 rebounds.
Gildersleeve had a double-double as well, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Parker Tuthill helped the Tuckers (9-3, 5-3) to their quick start, firing in three of his five 3-point shots in the first quarter for 9 of his 15 points. Chris Dwyer also scored 15 points. Joe Tardif had 13 assists and 9 rebounds to go with 4 points.
Port Jefferson (0-13, 0-9) also had four players score in double figures. Perez (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Mark (14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) led the way. Cheslock and Schoch had 10 points each, and Noah Davis supplied 8 points and 8 assists.
The biggest difference in the game was shooting. While the Tuckers shot 47 percent from the field, Port Jefferson struggled at 33 percent. After making only 8 of 29 field-goal attempts in the first half, Port Jefferson heated up and went 15 of 30 in the second half to tighten the game.