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Girls Basketball: Tuckers take third straight county title

It’s a three-peat!

As one might expect of a high school girls basketball team that is built to win now, Mattituck took care of business Monday night, and taking care of business meant wrapping up a third straight Suffolk County Class B championship.

“Businesslike,” coach Steve Van Dood said. “That’s how we like to keep it, businesslike.”

Looking confident, composed and playing with poise, Mattituck blew out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back as it ran off a 50-34 defeat of Babylon in the county final at Suffolk County Community College in Selden.

“It’s feeling better every year,” said Liz Dwyer, the senior forward who raised her five-year career point total to 1,780 with an 18-point performance. “I think we’re definitely more fired up because we know we’re not coming back. We can’t be more prepared next year … This is the year that we’re the most prepared and ready to go to states.”

Dwyer scored 15 of her points in the first quarter to help League VII champion Mattituck (18-2) forge a 22-4 lead that was extended to 24-4 when she sank two free throws early in the second quarter.

“They came out on fire with ice in their veins,” said Van Dood.

One of Mattituck’s five starting seniors, Alex Beebe, said, “When we came out with that, I was blown away and I was like, we got this.”

In the face of Mattituck’s tenacious defense, Babylon (11-9) missed its first 17 field-goal attempts. Babylon’s first field goal didn’t come until Katherine Buser (15 points) knocked down a three-pointer 2 minutes, 54 seconds into the second quarter.

“We knew we had a job to do,” said Beebe, who grabbed nine rebounds.

Dwyer said: “I think we were aggressive. There wasn’t one loose ball we didn’t go for.”

Babylon saw a thin ray of hope when a three by Buser cut Mattituck’s lead to 35-23 at 3:48 of the third quarter. But Mattituck then reeled off an 8-1 spurt (those points split between Mackenzie Daly and Jane DiGregorio) to make a Babylon comeback look unlikely.

“I thought they did a great job moving the ball,” said Van Dood, whose team has a 58-9 record over the past three seasons. “They knew when to fastbreak and when to pull the ball out.”

DiGregorio had 10 points.

Amanda Guerra came up with 12 points and 14 rebounds for Babylon.

Mattituck will meet Bishop McGann-Mercy in the Suffolk Class B-C game Friday at Centereach High School. After that, a regional semifinal awaits the Tuckers March 10 at a site to be announced. They will face the winner of Thursday’s Nassau County final between Carle Place and Oyster Bay.

With another county championship plaque in their possession, the two-time defending Long Island champions are gunning for a three-peat of that title as well.

Dwyer said, “Hopefully it just keeps going and keeps getting better.”

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Photo caption: The Mattituck Tuckers celebrate their third straight Suffolk County Class B championship. (Credit: Bill Landon)