The Mattituck Tuckers have dug their spoon deeper into the alphabet soup known as the Suffolk County high school girls basketball tournament, and they like the taste of those ABCs.
This is all uncharted territory for Class B Mattituck, which captured its first county championship on Feb. 16. Since then, everything in this process has been new for the Tuckers, and they seem to be enjoying it.
And why not? Mattituck won its first Suffolk Class B-C-D game, 60-52, over Pierson/Bridgehampton on Saturday at Riverhead High School.
“It’s really exciting to know that no one’s ever done this before,” sophomore guard Jane DiGregorio said, referring to previous Mattituck teams. “No one’s ever won any of these games.”
Mattituck did so despite missing four players on Saturday. Corinne Reda was out with illness while Emily Mowdy, Courtney Penny and Phurlamu Sherpa have been unavailable.
No matter. Liz Dwyer and Katie Hoeg rose to the occasion, as is their custom, and Mattituck (19-1) rolled to its 11th straight win. Dwyer dropped in 27 points and hauled in 12 rebounds to go with four assists, two steals and one block. Hoeg registered 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals. They also exchanged some nice give-and-go passes that produced baskets.
“When those two can score 50 points and we get all of our other players back, it’s going to be a good night for us,” said Van Dood, who picked up his 118th career win.
Pierson/Bridgehampton (13-7), which has won three straight county Class C titles, relied on Nia Dawson (19 points), Lily Kot (14) and Erica Selyukova (eight points, 12 rebounds) to keep Mattituck from blowing the game open.
The Tuckers, who shot 45.8 percent from the field, stretched their lead to 15 points when back-to-back buckets by Dwyer made it 48-33 early in the fourth quarter.
Pierson/Bridgehampton whittled that lead down to as few as four points twice after that. The last of those came when Selyukova converted a putback of her own missed shot, cutting the Mattituck lead to 56-52. But Hoeg and Dwyer each sank two free throws in the final 13.3 seconds to close out the win.
Dwyer made 8 of 13 field-goal attempts and sank 11 of 13 free throws. As a team, Mattituck shot 16 of 21 from the foul line.
“I think it was a good game because we didn’t have our usual personnel,” Mattituck sophomore forward Chelsea Marlborough said. “Corrine’s sick. We have a lot of girls away on vacation, so it gave a chance for a lot of girls to step up and show their potential, what we can do.”
As their reward, the Tuckers earned another county alphabet game before their Long Island final against Carle Place (13-6) on March 1 at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. They will face Islip (18-2) in the Suffolk Class A-B-C-D game on Wednesday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
“It doesn’t mean all that much,” Van Dood said of the A-B-C-D game. “It’s really for bragging rights.”
The greater value for the Tuckers is it gives them another game to stay sharp for the Long Island final.
“We don’t like to take breaks,” Marlborough said. “We like to just keep rolling.”
Photo caption: Liz Dwyer, who brought Mattituck 27 points and 12 rebounds, taking the ball to the basket against Pierson/Bridgehampton’s Nia Dawson. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)