It’s not every day that your star player nearly outscores the first-place team sporrting a nine-game winning streak.
Then again, it’s not every team that has someone like Lilly Corwin.
The Greenport/Southold senior captain and forward played one of the most memorable games of her high school basketball career Tuesday night. She scored 24 points in the Porters’ 40-26 upset win over Mattituck in Suffolk County League VII action.
The home victory was the Porters’ sixth in seven games and avenged a 39-33 loss at Mattituck (9-6, 8-1) on Jan. 6. Greenport (7-6, 7-2) also became only the second opponent to score 40 or more points against the Tuckers since Dec. 13.
“It’s special just to know that we can do that and know that we’re better than we think we are,” Corwin said. “I’m very proud of how we performed tonight.”
Sophomore point guard Francesca Santacroce, who contributed seven points, seconded that.
“It really boosts us,” she said. “Mattituck is a great team … to give them their first loss, it’s really big for us and a big confidence boost.”
Corwin seemingly was everywhere on the court, whether she was transforming a steal into a basket, snaring a rebound in traffic or launching herself across the floor to grab a loose ball,
“She’s just such a great leader for our team,” Santacroce said. “She’s the rock. She’s just the best. You can always count on her. She’s always there for you.”
Mattituck head coach Steven Van Dood said he was impressed with Corwin’s tenacity.
“She played hard. She went out to every loose ball,” he added. “She seemed to play harder than a lot of girls tonight. She made us look like we’re standing still a little bit.”
Speaking of confidence, Corwin admitted that she’d only recently begun to regain that self-belief.
“I’ve been very doubtful of myself, especially last season,” she said. “My confidence just wasn’t there. I feel like I’m just finally getting my confidence back just to know that I can do it, like no one can stop me.
“Last season, I was just a shooter. It was easy to shut me down,” she continued. “But this season, I’m not going allow people to just face guard me and take me out of the game. I’ve got to be confident in myself to just go to the rim.”
On Tuesday night, Corwin was at her confident best, scoring Greenport’s opening 11 points, including every point as the Porters took an 8-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Corwin, who canned three treys, also converted two steals into baskets. Her last one, which included a free throw, boosted the Porters into a 27-19 advantage with three minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Perhaps no one was prouder of Corwin than her father, Everett Corwin, the Greenport head coach.
“She wouldn’t have any idea how many points she has,” he said. “She wants to win the game.
“She just does winning things and you don’t see her ever complaining. She is just for the team. She never comes out [of a game]. As a coach, I’m glad to have her. As a dad, I’m proud of her. I enjoy watching her. She does a little bit of everything.”
Lilly Corwin might have done the bulk of the scoring for the Porters, but she was far from a one-woman show.
Two guards, junior Lindsey Bednoski and freshman Madison Smith, took turns covering and making life difficult for Tuckers sophomore guard Claire Mackenzie (seven points). Mackenzie is averaging a team-high 13.7 points a game.
“We buckled down defensively. We had a game plan,” coach Corwin said. “We wanted to take Claire out of the game as much as possible. They’re not going to do too much offensively but I can use them in that role. They did a fantastic job.”
“They played tough on her,” said Tuckers head coach Steven Van Dood. “We tried to set some screens for her and tried to get some girls open. We had a hard time with that.”
Mattituck dressed only eight players. Georgia Buckley couldn’t play because she was sick. Jashlyn Castenada played only half a game and Caroline Little felt ill afterward.
“They came out ready and we weren’t,” Van Dood said. “The effort was there. We didn’t get the buckets, unfortunately.”