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Boys Basketball: Playoffs are slam dunk for Seifert, Tuckers

Mattituck might have looked at its penultimate regular-season boys basketball game as a slam dunk, but Ryan Seifert took things to a different level.

Seifert, who had never dunked in a game before, was presented with a golden opportunity 5 minutes, 26 seconds into Monday night’s Suffolk County League VI game at Port Jefferson High School. Xavier Allen set him up and Seifert took care of the rest. The 6-3 senior slammed down a right-handed dunk.

“I had a pretty clear lane,” he said. “I knew I could get it. I jumped up and I threw it down. When I came down I was shocked. I just dunked in a basketball game!”

Correction: He dunked twice in a basketball game.

Seifert followed that up with a second dunk, an uncontested jam off a fastbreak pass from H’Nahdari Joyner at 2:54 of the second quarter.

And there was an opportunity for a third dunk late in the third quarter when Seifert stole the ball and had nothing but the basket in front of him. He opted to lay that one in instead, though.

“He said he was being humble,” said Mattituck assistant coach Tom Ascher.

No matter. Seifert got his two dunks and Mattituck bounced Port Jefferson, 92-48, for a win that coach Paul Ellwood said clinched the Tuckers (10-9, 5-6) a playoff spot since they will have at least a .500 league record against fellow Class B teams.

Mattituck has one game left on the schedule, Wednesday night at home to Babylon. In those teams’ first meeting on Jan. 14, Mattituck beat Babylon, 61-42. That was three days after Mattituck’s previous game, an 82-54 rout of Port Jefferson.

Seifert (17 points) was feeling it Monday. So was Allen, although his weapon of choice is a deadly accurate outside shot. The junior knocked down five three-pointers and 17 points in the first quarter on the way to a 27-point performance. His first shot was a three that was all net.

“I felt I was hot,” said Allen, who also had nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals. “If that first shot goes in, I know I’m good, especially a three.”

Mattituck also received 10 points from Nick Perino and nine from Chris Nicholson.

“Our transition was good,” Allen said. “The defense was good. A nice team win.”

Port Jefferson (1-18, 0-11), which suffered its 15th straight loss, was led by Drew Feinstein (14 points), Manu Idir (12) and Grant Caleudville (nine).

It was Senior Night for Port Jefferson’s four seniors, including three who started: Caleudville, Johnathan Bahman and Feinstein. A fourth senior, the injured Charlie Rolfe, didn’t play.

Mattituck opened the game with pressing defense and hit 16 of its first 21 field-goal attempts for a 38-10 lead. That was the game.

“Our game plan was to come out and put it away early,” said Seifert, who also did a nice job weaving through traffic in the lane for a layup and finishing an alley-oop pass from Joyner.

Allen dealt with a swollen right ankle he suffered in a 47-42 home win over Hampton Bays Friday night. Points did not come easily for the Tuckers that night.

“It was the exact opposite tonight,” Ellwood said. “We made everything we took tonight.”

The Tuckers shot a sizzling 57.4 percent (39-for-68) — and went 2-for-2 on dunk attempts.

At Sunday’s practice, Ellwood said he had told his players he wanted to institute an alley-oop play, but couldn’t because none of them could dunk. That’s when Seifert spoke up.

Ellwood said Seifert had been dunking in practice, “just barely getting it over the rim.”

Seifert is the first Mattituck player to dunk in a game since Ryan Mowdy had multiple dunks in 2016, said Ellwood.

“It’s a feeling I don’t know,” jested Ellwood, who was a guard for Mercy High School in his playing days.

So, will we be seeing more dunks from Seifert in the near future?

“I hope so,” he said. “All my friends were like, ‘You got to do it again at home.’ I’ll try.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood and his team clinched a playoff berth with their win in Port Jefferson. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

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