It was sudden, overpowering and, like a force of nature, devastating.
Mattituck overwhelmed Bishop McGann-Mercy, scoring the first 15 points of the high school girls basketball game and busting out to a 25-4 lead in the first quarter on Wednesday night. The Tuckers pressed, created turnovers, scored points off steals and rattled the Monarchs in what Mattituck’s coach, Steve Van Dood, said was the best quarter the team has played this season. At one point during the quarter, the Monarchs threw the ball away with an errant pass and the team’s mascot, a lion standing on a stage behind one of the baskets at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, winced.
By the time the damage was done, the Tuckers had a resounding 76-47 win, a firmer hold of first place in Suffolk County League VII and had clinched their ninth playoff berth in 10 years.
Talk about a feel-good victory.
One of many things for the Tuckers (9-1, 8-1) to feel good about was the sensational play of Katie Hoeg. The senior forward has been playing exceptionally well of late, and her performance at McGann-Mercy might have been as impressive as any of them. In the three quarters that she played before being pulled to the bench for the night, the 5-foot-10 Hoeg scored 21 points to go with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocked shots.
Liz Dwyer recorded 11 of her 14 points during that paralyzing first-quarter assault. She shot 6 for 13 from the field.
Jane DiGregorio, a sophomore, put up a career-high 10 points toward the victory, Mackenzie Daly added 9 and Brianna Perino had 8.
After the Tuckers pulled away to a 29-7 lead early in the second quarter, the Monarchs (6-3, 6-2) ran off an 11-2 burst of their own, but even then they were still behind by 13 points and the Tuckers soon started an 18-2 run of their own.
The Monarchs suffered some bumps and bruises, too. One of their forwards, Juliana Cintron Leonardo, who had 12 points, took an elbow to the face that left her with a bloody nose. Mia Behrens, a guard, was helped off the court with 1 minute 41 seconds left in the third quarter without putting any pressure on her right leg. Coach Meghan Macarthur said Behrens had a calf issue and indicated that it wasn’t serious.
Fiona Faherty brought the Monarchs 10 points, Rita Ellis added 8 and Melina Santacroce battled for 7 points and 11 rebounds.
The Tuckers made good on 13 of their first 22 field-goal attempts and finished the game shooting 47 percent. The Monarchs were held to 31-percent shooting and turned the ball over 31 times.
For a game involving two teams that could face each other in the Suffolk Class B final, the trouncing was unexpected.
It was Mattituck’s second win over McGann-Mercy in six days. The Tuckers had defeated the Monarchs by 20 points in their first meeting, but a closer game was expected in the rematch in McGann-Mercy’s small gym.
Photo caption: Mattituck’s Mackenzie Daly takes aim at the basket while Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Chastin Giles plays defense. (Credit: Garret Meade)