Boys Basketball: Mattituck and Greenport fall in first round of playoffs

The season has come to a disappointing end for two local hoops sqauds, but both Mattituck and Greenport have plenty to build on for next year. 

For the Tuckers last Friday night, it felt like a lid was on the rim. It didn’t matter from where Mattituck shot: lay-ups, off steals and fast breaks, from three-point range and from the foul line, nothing seemed to drop.

The Tuckers paid the price for their cold shooting, suffering a 46-36 loss at Babylon in the Suffolk County Class B boys basketball semifinals.

“No one made shots,” said senior guard Mike Mowdy, who finished with 8 points. “Very frustrating just because we know how our good players are. We know that we’re capable to make every shot we take. It hurts.”

It did, considering how well the Tuckers (9-9) did in other aspects of the game.

“Our defensive game plan worked pretty close to perfect, and our offense one, not so much,” head coach Paul Ellwood said.

“Sometimes you’re hot, sometimes you’re cold and it was just one of those nights,” added junior forward Michael Finnegan, who finished with a team-high 9 points. “It’s really hard in your first playoff game. You lay it all out on the floor, and you don’t get the result you want.”

Mowdy also was hoping for a better outcome, entering the game after two fine efforts. He scored 33 points in a 63-54 win over Center Moriches on Feb. 3, and another 20 in a 57-42 loss to Babylon last Tuesday.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “I’ve been playing with them since third grade. It just [stinks] to lose. I always want to keep playing with them. A few more days would have been nice.”

Instead, the Panthers (11-7) will get an opportunity to play at least one more as they will meet Southampton (16-4) for the Class B crown at St. Joseph College on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

What made the loss that much more frustrating was how well Mattituck played defensively.

“We gave up 46 points,” Mowdy said. “It’s amazing. If we played any other game, we would have won.”

The Tuckers shot relatively well in the first quarter, sinking 4-of-9 field-goal attempts before going cold. They ended up connecting on just 25% of their shots (13-of-52) and struggled mightily at the foul line (5-of-15).

“It could have been a one-possession game at the end,” Ellwood said. “It was an 8-point game. The foul line kind of killed us.”

Still, Ellwood said he could not have asked for anything more.

“There was never a time in the whole season I had to stop practice and talk about effort,” he said. “Whatever we laid out from day one, they were buying in 100%. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years. It’s never easy to walk away from a season. I’m lucky to be blessed to be coaching, working with kids like this.”

In the parlance of another sport, Greenport swung for the fences, and more often than not, struck out. The Porters decided to take the bulk of their shots from long range, but the strategy did not pay off, and they paid the price in Saturday’s Suffolk County Class D semifinals, going down 64-33 at Smithtown Christian.

“The game was a rough one for us,” head coach Justin Moore said. “We just couldn’t score that basketball today. A lot of missed shots. We did a lot of settling for 3s and not going to the rim to create fouls.”

Greenport (7-14) sank only three of 30 3-point attempts (10%). The Porters weren’t that much better with their overall shooting, converting just 14-of-59 shots from the field (23.8%).

“We took a lot of good shots,” said sophomore guard Kal Marine (8 points). “I thought they were going to fall but it just didn’t work out for us.”

The game started out quite encouraging for the Porters, who canned their first two 3-point attempts for their only lead, at 6-5.

Then they went ice cold.

“That’s a little bit of the issue here, too,” Moore said. “We come out early. We hit a couple, and now we feel that that’s what we want to do, instead of attacking the rim. Now everybody’s settling. It has been a thing that we’ve been struggling with all year.”

Sophomore Taiquan Brumsey, who led the Porters with 9 points, agreed.

“The shots just weren’t falling,” he said. “We kept shooting them. Sometimes we don’t need to take those shots.”

Justus Horton (6 points) was hampered by the fact he had to sit midway through the first quarter after accruing his second foul.

“It definitely iced me a little bit,” he said. “I came back in not feeling it.”

The Porters missed 22 consecutive tries from downtown before Marine put one away with 4:43 left in the game. By then, the contest had been settled as Smithtown (12-9) enjoyed a 57-33 lead.

Horton, the lone senior in the starting five, competed in his final game, having played for Moore on the varsity and travel teams.

“It’s definitely sad,” he said. “I’ve been playing for the Greenport varsity since seventh grade. I’ve been playing basketball with coach Justin Moore since I was in fourth grade. It’s a long time.”

The starting core will return for next season, which greatly encouraged Moore.

“I have a bunch of sophomore players out there, giving it their all in a big playoff game,” the first-year coach said. “It’s only going to benefit us in the long run. I tried to tell the players it’s about the long haul. Our team is very young. I believe in the next couple of years, we will be a team to be reckoned with.”