Luke Woods has been a 20-something scorer this season, but he was a 30-something scorer Tuesday night and by the end of this high school boys basketball season, if all goes accordingly, he will become a 1,000-something scorer.
That milestone is something the Mattituck senior guard has had his eye on for a while.
Looking back on that December night in 2019 when Xavier Allen became the latest Mattituck player to score his 1,000th career point, coach Paul Ellwood recalls Woods approaching him after all the hoopla as they were among the last to leave a near-empty gym. “I’m next, Coach,” he said. (Woods, by the way, assisted on the three-pointer by Allen that pushed him over the 1,000-point mark).
And now, here they are, with Woods on the verge of living up to his word.
With a superb 33-point performance in an 81-46 defeat of rival Southold Tuesday night at Mattituck High School, Woods has raised his career total to 933 points. That’s with six regular-season games remaining and almost surely the playoffs.
With that 1,000th point on the horizon, Woods gets closer and closer. With each game it becomes more real.
That has been one of Woods’ individual goals this season, along with leading Long Island in scoring. He currently tops all Long Island public school players with an average of 29 points per game, according to Newsday.
“I don’t think he’s had a game under 20 all season,” Ellwood said. “He’s been dynamic.”
Earlier this season, Woods racked up a career-high 40 points against Bridgehampton. He also scored 37 versus Mount Sinai.
How has Woods been able to put up these numbers?
“Great teammates,” he said. “My teammates allow me to score the ball each and every night. They’re so unselfish. They know I want to go for that 1,000-point goal, so it’s very unselfish of them to give up open opportunities for me to score the ball.”
What would make the 1,000-point achievement especially impressive is Woods’ junior season was a shortened seven-game run last year in which he averaged 23 points. He joined the varsity team as a freshman.
“Luke’s been playing great this year, you know,” senior forward Matt Seifert said. “When we really need him the most, he comes up and steps through and it’s shown. That’s why he’s so close to that thousand points.”
What makes Woods such a proficient scorer?
“He’s just great in the paint,” Seifert said. “When he drives and stuff, he always somehow gets it on the glass and somehow it rolls in and that’s huge.”
And Woods can score in so many ways, not to mention make nice passes and run the floor expertly.
“Luke scores everywhere,” Ellwood said. “He scores in transition, he hits threes, drives, dribble off the ball, foul shots, you know what I mean? His stat line is pretty well-balanced.”
Southold got a heavy dose of it as Woods nailed three three-pointers, had 16 points by halftime and 27 through three quarters. He also had four assists.
Seifert finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and Trevor Zappulla drained three treys as part of his 11-point, seven-assist effort. Mattituck (8-4, 6-1 Suffolk County League VII) won its fifth straight game as it seeks a fifth straight playoff berth.
Cal Karsten led Southold (6-8, 6-6) with 21 points and Gavin Fredricks added 14.
“It’s a great game to play a rival, to be able to play well and to be able to work on some things as well,” Ellwood said. “So we kind of took care of everything tonight that we wanted to.”
After the game-opening basket by Fredricks, Mike Mowdy hit a three and Mattituck led the rest of the way. Woods scored six points as part of a 12-3 first-quarter run and had eight points during a 14-0 spurt bridging the second and third quarters, making the score 45-19.
Mattituck turned the ball over only seven times (to Southold’s 17) and held a 39-29 rebounding advantage.
Mattituck’s press defense troubled Southold, forcing the First Settlers into two 10-second violations during a 26-second span late in the first quarter. “That’s how we like to play,” Seifert said. “We don’t like to sit back. We like to play up on them.”
Said Woods, “Nothing’s gone wrong so far, a really good season.”
An impressive milestone would make it even better.
“We really hope he gets there,” Seifert said. “We’ll be proud of him.”