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Girls Basketball: A healthy Daly keeps Tuckers happy

Things go better with Mac.

That’s just the way it is. The Mattituck High School girls basketball team has shown that it can win without its savvy point guard, Mackenzie Daly. That, of course, isn’t the preferable route. The Tuckers would much rather have a happy, healthy Daly on the court, handling the ball, setting the tempo and running the offense.

Mattituck learned what it was like not to have Daly available last season when she sat out the entire playoffs with an ankle injury. The Tuckers still managed to win a second straight Long Island Class B championship and return to the Southeast Region final via ballhandling by committee, but it wasn’t the same.

Or easy.

Least of all for Daly, who watched the playoff games from the bench while keeping statistics.

“It was painful to watch just because I was so anxious,” the senior said. “I’d rather be in the game and have some control. On the side you’re just keeping the stats and biting your fingernails.”

Then, for this season’s opening game against Brentwood, there was Daly sitting on the bench again in street clothes. The flu kept her out of that game, but since her return Mattituck is 7-0.

“I think she makes a big difference,” senior forward Alex Beebe said. “She’s our ballhandler, so she drives and dishes and she’s a really good shooter. Her shot is just so pretty.”

Senior guard Jane DiGregorio also appreciates Daly’s presence.

“When Mac is on the court and when Mac is shooting, it’s amazing,” DiGregorio said. “She has by far the best jump shot on the team, I think. When we can get her to shoot that and get her free, it helps so much.”

Daly, who averaged 4.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals in six games, said she is taking in everything she can from her fourth and final season playing for Mattituck. After scoring eight points in a 51-33 home win over Babylon Friday, she said she wants to play better.

“I’m not scoring and contributing as much in terms of points, I think,” she said. “I think I probably should be scoring more, and that’s totally on me. That’s not on the team. I think I need to put more shots up. But I think my decision-making is improving every year and I’m looking forward to just making better decisions on the ball.

“Personally, I really just want to contribute as much as a I can. I’m not so much concerned with personal accolades and accomplishments. The ultimate goal is to make it upstate, so hopefully that’s what we’ll do this year.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck point guard Mackenzie Daly putting up a shot against Pierson/Bridgehampton earlier this month. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)