GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Allie Wilcenski, who led Mattituck with 19 points and 13 rebounds, looking for a shooting opening while Center Moriches’ Vanessa Lewis guards her.
SUFFOLK CLASS B OUTBRACKET GAME | RED DEVILS 80, TUCKERS 69
Victoria Fahie’s uniform number is 4, but her relevant number was 3 on Friday night. That’s right, 3, as in one successful 3-point shot after another.
If Fahie wakes up on Saturday morning wondering if what happened on Friday night was only a dream, it would be understandable. The Center Moriches junior played what she called the best basketball game of her life. She drilled seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 25 points for the Red Devils, who held off Mattituck, 80-69, in an intense, energy-charged Suffolk County Class B Tournament outbracket game at Center Moriches High School.
“I was so happy and so excited to be a big part of the game,” said the 5-foot-4 Fahie.
Fahie’s performance was not something Center Moriches coach Kelley Watts had not seen from her before. Fahie, who along with Claire Brady are the team’s most productive 3-point shooters, drained seven threes in a game against Wyandanch this season. She entered Friday night’s game with 28 treys.
“She’s a fantastic shooter,” Watts said. “As of late, I’d say the last six or seven games, she’s really been on fire from the arc.”
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Katie Hoeg taking aim at the basket while Center Moriches Tamia Rowland and Takia Plummer (11) try to stop her.
The 80 points was a season-high figure for second-seeded Center Moriches (12-4), which will play top-seeded Southampton (14-3), the League VII champion, in a county final on Tuesday night.
Friday night’s game was marked by its intensity and physicality, from start to finish.
Asked how she would describe the game, Mattituck senior point guard Alex Berkoski replied, “Intense, physical, and very tearful at the end.”
Berkoski added: “We left everything out there. We came out with scratches and bruises, for sure.”
Mattituck’s only lead was at 2-0, but the third-seeded Tuckers (11-8) stayed close enough to Center Moriches to remain a threat. A basket by Takia Plummer gave Center Moriches a 42-26 lead late in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, Mattituck pulled as close as 6 points at 66-60 thanks to a Shannon Dwyer bucket, but no closer. Whenever Mattituck tightened the gap, it seemed that the sharpshooting Fahie was there to respond with a 3-pointer.
“We were close at some points, and then we just couldn’t get to that level where we could push over,” said Berkoski.
The foul-filled contest saw 32 fouls whistled by halftime and 48 for the game. Those fouls caught up with Mattituck. Three Mattituck starters — Berkoski, Dwyer and Alexa Orlando — had four personal fouls marked near their names by the time the fourth quarter was 23 seconds old. Dwyer and teammate Allie Wilcenski later fouled out.
The amount of energy both teams expended from start to finish was considerable.
“Every time we play Mattituck, that’s how it is,” Watts said. “The kids play very hard on both ends, both teams, and that’s how it’s always been.”
Vanessa Lewis provided Center Moriches with a season-high 17 points as well as 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Plummer added 16 points and 9 assists, and Brady had 11 points.
As a team, Center Moriches shot 9 for 17 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Wilcenski, a senior playing in her final game for the Tuckers, turned in a big game with 19 points and 13 rebounds, both team-leading numbers. Dwyer netted 18 points, Berkoski scored 13 and Orlando 11. Katie Hoeg came off the bench for 8 points and 6 assists.
Center Moriches defeated Mattituck in all three meetings between the teams this season. It couldn’t be said, however, that Mattituck went down Friday night without a heck of a fight.
“I’m proud of my girls,” Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood said. “They showed up tonight. They really did a good job.”
But Fahie was the difference-maker. “She was unreal,” Van Dood said. “… She lit it up on us.”
Standing outside her team’s locker room afterward, Fahie tried to explain how she approaches outside shooting. “I never know if my shot’s on,” she said. “Once I start getting into it, I feel it and I just start shooting.”
Mattituck had four of its players recognized as all-league players: ALEX BERKOSKI, SHANNON DWYER, ALEXA ORLANDO and ALLIE WILCENSKI. In addition, Wilcenski is on the all-county ballot, said coach STEVE VAN DOOD.
Reflecting on his team’s season, Van Dood remarked: “I would say good job. The girls played hard. To get 11 wins in a tough league like we have, it’s a successful season.”