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Top Sports Stories 2019: Mattituck girls leapfrogged by Carle Place

They play in different counties, yet the Carle Place and Mattituck high school girls basketball teams have developed a new tradition in recent years — playing each other in the Long Island Class B final.

Mattituck won its first two Long Island finals against Carle Place in 2016 and 2017. But this mini-postseason rivalry has turned Carle Place’s way the last two seasons. That includes last season when Carle Place’s superior speed and marksmanship translated into a 66-25 thumping of Mattituck at Farmingdale State College.

Despite having two 1,000-point scorers, Leah Burden (knee) and Abby Selhorn (foot), sitting on the bench with injuries, Carle Place came out strong and never stopped. The Frogs, shooting a sizzling 51% in the first half, used a 38-5 run to pull away to a 50-9 lead early in the third quarter. Erin Leary scored 16 of Carle Place’s first 25 points and finished with 21.

Mattituck (17-6), meanwhile, struggled mightily with its offense. The Tuckers were held to one field goal in each the second and third quarters. They shot 15%.

“They have a lot of year-round players and they were good shooters,” Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood said of the Frogs. “I knew they were going to be good, it would be a tough game for us. We had a couple of game plans, we changed up our defenses, but it was hard to stymie them. It was hard to get a stop. It seemed like they just kept going.”

Mattituck lost all five of its starters from the previous season, including the school’s all-time leading scorer, Liz Dwyer. The Tuckers turned in what might have been a surprisingly productive season to some, but not Julie Seifert.

“Those people that left, they were great and they had a lot of things that really built Mattituck basketball into what it is today, but … we didn’t have any doubts,” she said. “It’s such a negative outlook to go into a season thinking you’re not going to do good. We worked in the offseason, did summer league and everything, and we were ready for it.”

Photo caption: Mattituck basketball player Mackenzie Hoeg. (Credit: Bill Landon/file)