Parker Tuthill is a streaky basketball player. Some games he’s rather quiet and not much of a factor, and then there are other times, like on Tuesday night.
With friends and family watching on, Tuthill made his final regular-season game for Mattituck High School a memorable one. In what could possibly be the playoff-bound Tuckers’ final game of the season on their home court, Tuthill was at his best, knocking down shot after shot. When he was brought to the bench after completing a conventional three-point play with 6 minutes 38 seconds left in the game against Bishop McGann-Mercy, the guard was greeted with smiles, an appreciative handshake from coach Paul Ellwood and hearty congratulations from teammates.
It was Senior Night, but Tuthill, one of Mattituck’s five starting seniors, stole the show. Tuthill used his smooth outside shot to snap the nets for 41 points and 10 three-pointers, both career-high figures, in an 84-56 pasting of McGann-Mercy.
Afterward, Tuthill called it “probably the best night of my life.”
Ellwood, who has been coaching in the Mattituck program since 1999, said no other Mattituck player has scored 40 points since then.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” Mattituck guard Joe Tardif said. “We knew he was hot tonight. He was stroking the ball. I kept trying to feed him as much as I could.”
Tuthill had 14 points through the first quarter and 24 by halftime. For the game he shot 14 of 22 from the field, 10 of 18 from beyond the three-point arc, and 3 of 3 from the foul line. In addition, he had five assists, three rebounds and three steals.
“We really weren’t closing out on him at all,” McGann-Mercy senior K.J. Santacroce said. “I don’t know what we were doing with that, honestly.”
Tuthill played despite being ill and was held scoreless in a loss to McGann-Mercy earlier this season. Ellwood recalled Tuthill struggling in a non-league game against Hampton Bays last month. Instead of taking him out of that game, Ellwood kept him in to play through it.
“He got on track that game, and you could see it,” Ellwood said. “He knocked down a couple, just two shots. It made a difference. It got us going, and ever since then, we’re a different team.”
Tuthill also played well in Mattituck’s playoff-clinching 78-74 victory over Center Moriches on Saturday. In that game he had 21 points, five assists, five rebounds and shot 4 of 6 from three-point distance.
The Tuckers (11-7, 7-5 Suffolk County League VII), headed to the postseason for the second time in three years, could have a playoff game as soon as Thursday. A seeding meeting will be held Wednesday morning, said Ellwood. So, the Tuckers don’t know who they will play yet, but Ellwood said: “I’m not really worried about it. Whoever we play is going to be a tough opponent — and we’re a tough opponent.”
Even beyond Tuthill’s shooting, the Tuckers looked sharp, snapping quick, accurate passes against the Monarchs, who closed their season with a 6-11 record, 3-8 in League VII.
Tuthill and Tardif were introduced to the crowd, along with fellow seniors Jon Dwyer, Dan Fedun and Ryan Mowdy by Mattituck athletic director Gregg Wormuth during a pregame Senior Night ceremony. The five Tuckers entered the gym, escorted by family members to center court.
Following hugs and kisses, the Tuckers went to work. They shot 12 of 18 from the field in the second quarter, when they outscored McGann-Mercy, 32-10.
Tardif finished with 20 points and 12 assists, seven of which came on baskets by Tuthill. Mowdy added eight points and 11 rebounds.
“I just wanted to play as hard as I could,” Tardif said. “I always want to play as hard as I can so when I look back, I know that I gave my best effort.”
Santacroce’s four-year varsity career came to an end when he was substituted for with 2:38 left. He brought the Monarchs 24 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot. “I just tried to leave it out there as best as I could,” he said.
Another one of McGann-Mercy’s six seniors, Nick Kneski, had 12 points.
But there was no question who the player of the game was.
“I had to go out there and give it my all,” Tuthill said. He added, “I’ll definitely remember this night.”
Photo caption: Parker Tuthill’s fluid shooting brought him a career-high 41 points, including 10 three-pointers, for Mattituck in its defeat of Bishop McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Garret Meade)