The Mattituck High School boys basketball team had won its first 12 games this season before its 102-68 loss to undefeated Center Moriches Tuesday night.
“It’s the best start we ever had since I’ve been here,” said Paul Ellwood, who is in his 16th season coaching the team.
The previous best start was when the Tuckers opened the 2003-04 season with seven wins.
Mattituck has a three-pronged attack with Xavier Allen, Rashad Lawson and Luke Woods.
“And then Isaiah Johnson and Chris Nicholson are playing their roles,” Ellwood said. “Guys are just playing their roles real well for us, and it’s making us a very efficient team offensively. We don’t take a lot of bad shots. We’re getting the ball in spots that are good for us.”
He continued: “People come in thinking they’re going to stop X. You can’t stop everybody.”
Speaking before Tuesday’s game, Ellwood said: “We put ourselves in a good spot, so whatever happens tonight, it’s not going to affect where we are. We’re still going to be in a good spot win, lose or draw tonight.”
Center’s got talent
Center Moriches was loaded last season, so much so that it could have been mistaken for a small college team. So, how do the Red Devils, state Class B semifinalists last year, compare to last season’s version?
“Pieces-wise, they could be better,” said Paul Ellwood.
Ellwood saw the Red Devils beat Chaminade recently. “They had three guys in foul trouble and still didn’t miss a beat,” he said before Tuesday’s game. “They’re so deep. We can’t go as deep as them … We have to basically play a perfect game to be in the game.”
Ellwood said the parents of one of his players asked if Center Moriches could beat the Knicks.
Following Tuesday’s game, Mattituck point guard Luke Woods said: “They’re an amazing team. It’s hard to compete against such a great team like that, but we held our own. Xavier had a great game.”
Center Moriches shot 40-for-79 (50.6%) from the field and made 11 of 25 three-point attempts. Mattituck went 22-for-51 (43.1%) and 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. And while Mattituck turned the ball over 22 times, Center Moriches limited its turnovers to nine.
“I think, honestly, we played pretty well, despite the score,” Luke Woods said. “We just held our heads high. There was nothing else we could do.”