Boys Basketball: Mattituck downs Southold in 58-26 victory in Division opener

If Mike Mowdy doesn’t get you at one end of the court, there is a good chance he’ll find a way to do some damage at the other end.

A prime example came in Mattituck High School’s 58-26 home victory over Southold in its Suffolk County Division 5 boys basketball opener on Monday.

The crafty senior guard showcased his talents, sparking the Tuckers with a career-best 27 points. He connected on four treys. Moreover, Mowdy helped a defense that produced 18 steals. He finished with seven, turning four into baskets. He added four assists.

“It feels good,” he said of his points, “but it feels better to get a win.”

That’s because the Tuckers (2-3, 1-0) snapped a three-game losing streak.

“It gets our confidence back,” said senior forward Trevor Zappulla, who contributed 14 points, four assists and four steals.

Head coach Paul Ellwood certainly liked what he saw from his team, especially on the defensive end.

“It bought us some time and then once the offense started clicking, we pulled away,” he said. “That was our best defensive effort of the season.”

And Ellwood liked what he saw of Mowdy, who made life difficult for Southold (1-5, 0-4).

“I think he’s the only guy on our team who didn’t have the flu last week,” he said. “He was buzzing around with a lot of energy. He puts pressure on you on both ends of the floor. He’ll come and pick your pocket on defense and then he goes to attack you on offense. You really got to work hard to take care of Mike because he’s a very good player.”

Whether it is hitting treys or finishing up a steal with a layup.

Asked whether he preferred sinking long-range shots over scoring via a steal, Mowdy replied, “It really depends on the situation. If we’re up big and they look like they’re getting shaky, I want to get a steal and just take them out of the game. But if it’s a close game and points are at a minimum and I have a big three, the momentum switches.”

Zappulla got the Tuckers going in the first period, sinking three of his four treys as they opened up a 15-7 advantage.

After the Settlers moved within 17-13 with four minutes and 22 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Mowdy took center stage. Hs scored eight of the Tuckers’ points, including a couple of treys, during a 13-0 tear as they pulled away to a 30-13 halftime advantage.

“Just great defense out of locker room,” he said. “Coach had a game plan, and we made the game plan work.”

Mowdy didn’t let up in the third quarter, hitting a pair of three-pointers, and converting two steals into baskets for another eight points.

With Mattituck leading by a sizable margin in the fourth quarter, Ellwood took Mowdy and his starters out.

“Almost every game he’s played every meaningful minute until the game is out of hand like it was tonight,” he said. “He and Trevor are our leaders offensively. They set the tone for us. Then Shawn Lawson sets the tone for us defensively.”

Lawson, a senior, forward, grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, 10 in the first half, while collecting five points and four steals.

The Tuckers also were quite adept of not only passing the ball well but not throwing it away.

“We were holding onto the ball and making smart passes,” Zappulla said.

They had only one turnover in each of the first three quarters. They made five in the fourth period, many of which occurred after Ellwood cleared his bench.

“We value the ball. if it’s a shooting drill in practice, if a turnover happens, we take note of it,” Ellwood said. “You can’t have turnovers because it’s easy offense on the other end.”

It has been a tough start to the season for a young Southold side, which has only one senior in the starting lineup – forward Jaden Olsen (team-high nine points) and two on the team. Junior guard Evan Maskiell added seven points.

“We talked about effort and attitude and just trying to stay together as a team as we execute throughout a game,” head coach Lucas Grigonis said. “We’re trying but the youthful inexperience and shots not falling are tough on the kids. But they do stay together and that’s what we’re trying to build off of, is sticking together and just trying to execute anything that we’re doing.”