There are reasons why basketball teams play non-league games and the Mattituck High School girls squad was reminded why in their season opener Monday.
The defending Long Island Class B champions certainly had their moments in their 46-42 loss at Westhampton Beach, but the Tuckers realized they had plenty to work on if they want to play into March.
Despite a sterling performance by junior forward Liz Dwyer, who scored 21 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, Mattituck (20-3 last year) could not overcome the Class A school, which plays in League V. The Tuckers call League VII home.
Junior Lexi Miller (11 points) sank a foul shot with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter to snap a 42-42 deadlock, giving the Hurricanes the lead to stay. They added to their advantage on a Lindsay Rongo (eight points) layup with 1:09 left and a free throw by Isabelle Smith (18 points) with 10 seconds remaining.
The Hurricanes (11-7, 7-5 last season) had taken a 40-30 advantage before the Tuckers staged an impressive rally behind Dwyer and Mackenzie Daly (six points). Dwyer led a 12-2 run with eight points and Daly, who sank a pair of shots within a 15-second span to knot things up at 42-all.
The Tuckers endured a cold shooting night, sinking 30 percent of their field-goal attempts (15 of 50) and 6 of their 13 attempts from the foul line. They also committed 25 turnovers, which can be expected against a quicker team.
Mattituck will play two more non-league games — at Shoreham-Wading River at Thursday and at Centereach Saturday — before hosting Pierson/Bridgehampton in its league opener on Dec. 6.