Liz Dwyer, captain of Mattituck High School’s girls basketball team, has many of the qualities that make for a good leader. Not only does she lead with her play on the court, but the junior forward has a knack for providing positive direction off the court.
“She’s amiable,” coach Steve Van Dood said. “She knows how to lead. She knows it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, so she’ll come down on kids if they’re not doing the right thing and I like that because it can’t always come from me.”
At the same time, Dwyer is well-liked and respected. She knows how to be both a diplomat and a policeman, a balance that not everyone can master.
On a team that has only one senior, Corinne Reda, the role Dwyer plays is an especially important one.
Meanwhile, on the basketball court, Dwyer continues to do her thing. With the graduation of Katie Hoeg, Dwyer has raised her scoring average from last season when she was good for 18.5 points per game. She recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career. With her 28 points in a 64-15 win over Smithtown Christian on Monday night, she upped her season average to 23.5 and reached 1,085 career points.
“She’s carrying off right where she left off last year and moving forward,” Van Dood said. “We want to keep her on pace. It would be nice to get a scoring title for her.”
Dwyer is a scoring machine, and yet it’s not like she is chucking shots up with reckless abandon. Her points come within the flow of the game.
“She’s been playing better than ever,” guard Mackenzie Daly said. “It’s definitely different. We’ve talked about not having Katie, but she’s doing great, like her passing, her rebounding, her points. She’s just stronger.”
Van Dood said at times Dwyer may try to do too much and it takes its toll on her. She looked rejuvenated Monday night, he said.
Minus Hoeg’s departure, not much has changed in terms of personnel with the Tuckers, who won their first Long Island championship last season. Dwyer believes the team has made gains, however.
“We lost a little height, but I would say we are quicker this year,” she said. She added: “It’s been fun so far. This is probably the best team yet. I’d say that.”
Photo caption: Liz Dwyer, who scored 28 points for Mattituck, is defended by Smithtown Christian’s Sarah Spreckles on Monday night. (Credit: Garret Meade)