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Girls Basketball: Tuckers close in on playoff berth

Mattituck girls basketball coach Steve Van Dood 011017

One game shy of the midpoint of its season, it’s not too soon to issue the Mattituck High School girls basketball team’s mid-term grade. How does an “A” sound?

It might be deserved. Just look at the evidence: Since its season-opening loss to Westhampton Beach, Mattituck has done nothing but win. Its 50-36 victory at Center Moriches High School on Tuesday was the team’s ninth consecutive win. Mattituck, the defending Long Island Class B champion, could clinch a playoff berth as soon as Thursday night when it plays Pierson/Bridgehampton in Sag Harbor.

Speed has been the linchpin of Mattituck’s pressing defense and a security blanket of sorts, clearing the way for turnovers and easy layups. That was the case Tuesday as Mattituck (9-1, 7-0 Suffolk County League VII) forced Center Moriches (5-8, 3-6) into committing 28 turnovers, twice as many as the Tuckers.

After Maddie Juliano drained a three-pointer from the corner for Center Moriches’ only lead at 8-7, Mattituck went on a 13-0 tear, with four points apiece coming from Liz Dwyer and Jane DiGregorio.

It was all Mattituck from that point on, although Center Moriches prevented the game from turning into a rout.

Center Moriches twice pulled to within nine points in the third quarter, but resilient Mattituck responded each time, building five 13-point leads and going up by 14 when a three-pointer by Emily Mowdy made it 44-30 shortly before the end of the quarter.

Both teams managed only six points apiece in the fourth quarter.

Dwyer fell shy of her 23-point season average, but turned in an impressive stat line and a double-double. The junior forward shot 7-for-13 from the field for a game-high 16 points. She also hauled down 11 rebounds to go with six steals, three blocks and two assists.

Three Tuckers — Chelsea Marlborough, Corinne Reda and DiGregorio — put up eight points each and Mowdy supplied seven points off the bench. DiGregorio had five assists.

Sarah Brady (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Kristina Baldanza (13 points, nine rebounds) accounted for most of Center Moriches’ scoring.

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Photo caption: Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood talking to his players during a timeout in the first quarter. (Credit: Bob Liepa)