Asking the Mattituck High School girls basketball team to defeat Hauppauge was a tall order, especially against a tall player like Lauren Romito, who stood head and shoulders above the rest. Literally.
Mattituck faced serious matchup trouble in the Suffolk County Class ABC final Tuesday night at Centereach High School. The long reach of Romito, a junior forward whose height is listed on the Hauppauge roster as 6-3, caused Mattituck problems. Hauppauge took the lead for good late in the first quarter and built on it, pulling away to a 46-34 win in the Suffolk small schools final.
It was the ninth straight win for Hauppauge (17-7), which will play Commack (22-1) for the overall county title Friday at Farmingdale State College.
Mattituck (19-3) saw its 13-game win streak snapped. The Tuckers, playing in their third straight small schools final, had never won at this stage.
Romito was responsible for eight points during a 17-2 Hauppauge run that closed out the first half with the Eagles ahead, 26-12. She had 12 points and nine rebounds by halftime. By the time all was said and done, the towering Romito had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The tallest player Mattituck had on the court was Jordyn Maichin, a 5-10 reserve.
As if Romito wasn’t causing Mattituck enough angst, there was 6-1 Lindsey Devine (nine points, nine rebounds) and 5-10 Christina John (eight points, nine rebounds) to deal with as well.
Mattituck’s Liz Dwyer was held to four points in the first half. The senior forward ended up with 11, about eight under her average. She is Mattituck’s all-time leading scorer with 1,817 career points over five seasons.
The Tuckers had trouble finding shots, going 4-for-28 from the field in the first half. A brutal 1-for-17 spell started late in the first quarter and ended early in the third, by which time Mattituck found itself trailing, 26-14. For the game, Mattituck shot 21.1 percent (12-for-57).
Alex Beebe had eight points for Mattituck.
The next game for Mattituck will be its biggest of the season to date, a Class B regional semifinal against Carle Place (15-6) on March 7 at Suffolk County Community College-Brentwood.