07/21/14 10:42pm
07/21/2014 10:42 PM
Mattituck freshman Liz Dwyer shooting over Sayville's Molly Andrews during Monday evening's summer league game at Patchogue-Medford High School. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck freshman Liz Dwyer shooting over Sayville’s Molly Andrews during Monday evening’s summer league game at Patchogue-Medford High School. (Credit: Garret Meade)

When Shannon Dwyer left the Mattituck High School girls basketball team, she told her younger sister Liz, “You’re going to miss me.”

No doubt about it, the Tuckers do miss the graduated Shannon Dwyer, a two-time Times/Review Newsgroup athlete of the year and an All-Conference forward who averaged 13.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season.

Perhaps there is some consolation, however, in that they have a living, breathing reminder of Shannon Dwyer in the form of her sister. It isn’t that Liz Dwyer bears a striking facial resemblance to Shannon so much as a similar speech pattern, athleticism and gait on the basketball court. (more…)

07/14/14 10:49pm
07/14/2014 10:49 PM
Mount Sinai's Julia Golina and Victoria Johnson (14) try to stop Mattituck's Liz Dwyer, who produced 15 points and 11 rebounds. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mount Sinai’s Julia Golina and Victoria Johnson (14) try to stop Mattituck’s Liz Dwyer, who produced 15 points and 11 rebounds in Monday’s game. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Nowadays, perhaps more than ever before, the words of their past coaches echo in the minds of Alex, Alexa and Allie, the three A’s who constitute the new coaching troika for the Mattituck girls basketball summer team.

Alex Berkoski, Alexa Orlando and Allie Wilcenski, all members of the Mattituck High School Class of 2013 and former prominent players for the Tuckers, are the new coaches for the summer league team and they laugh when recounting how they find themselves repeating what their coaches told them when they were players. (more…)

02/05/13 8:17pm
02/05/2013 8:17 PM

TUCKERS 77, WARRIORS 48

The game didn’t have any meaning for either the Wyandanch or the Mattituck girls basketball teams in terms of the playoffs or the League VII championship. Wyandanch had already been eliminated from playoff contention. Mattituck had already secured its place in the posteason (the Tuckers are locked in as the No. 3 seed in the Suffolk County Class B Tournament, according to coach Steve Van Dood), and the league title was already beyond its reach.

And yet, for four players in white and blue uniforms, there was a good deal of significance to Tuesday night’s game.

Senior Day 2013 at Mattituck High School left some good memories for Mattituck’s four seniors: Alex Berkoski, Nicole Murphy, Alexa Orlando and Allie Wilcenski. They walked away with their teammates as 77-48 winners over Wyandanch.

As if often the case, some emotions were as much a part of the evening as the blue and white balloons and the personalized posters younger teammates made for the seniors, who played in their home gym for the last time.

“It’s really emotional,” said Wilcenski, whose eyes watered while talking about her final home game during a postgame interview. “I’m going to miss this so much, and I’m so sad.”

By contrast, Berkoski had a strikingly unemotional reaction to the proceedings. “I feel like it was just any ordinary game,” she said. “I guess the whole senior thing hasn’t really hit me yet.”

It was a junior, Shannon Dwyer, leading the way with 21 points for the Tuckers (11-6, 8-1), who recorded their fourth win from five games. Wilcenski had a productive evening as well with 20 points, and Berkoski supplied 13 points.

All 12 Tuckers who were in uniform played, and nine of them made it into the scoring column.

But the statistic of the night was in the assists category. Mattituck totaled 30 of them, with 9 coming from Katie Hoeg, and Berkoski and Orlando providing 6 apiece.

“They were moving the ball well,” Van Dood said. “We saw a lot of scoring off of three, four passes. They were running the offense. I think we did a good job of being patient with the ball.”

Wyandanch (4-13, 2-9) received 16 points from Symphony Paschall and 15 from Quiana Sutton, who hit four 3-point shots.

The only threat Wyandanch posed came early in the second quarter when it twice pulled to within 4 points of Mattituck at 22-18 and 24-20 from a straight-on 3-pointer that Sutton banked in and a basket by Paschall.

“Wyandanch actually came back a little bit,” Berkoski said, “but we finally pulled it back together and we finally got in the swing of things and we pulled it off.”

Mattituck proceeded to go on an 11-2 run and kept building on its lead from there.

“When we stick to the game plan, good things happen,” said Van Dood.

Among those good things for Mattituck were high-percentage shots. The Tuckers finished with 56.3-percent shooting from the field. They also forced 41 turnovers by Wyandanch.

Mattituck’s final regular-season game will be Friday night against Southampton. A week later, the Tuckers will play their playoff game. Van Dood expects Mattituck to be paired against Center Moriches in a county semifinal. Center Moriches defeated the Tuckers twice this season, 58-50 and 60-40.

As well as Mattituck played against Wyandanch, Van Dood didn’t overlook a couple of layups that the Tuckers missed along the way.

“You do that against Center Moriches, you do that against Southampton, and you’re not going to get the W,” he said. “We have to come out ready to play. We have to play four quarters.”

Still, it was a happy night for Mattituck’s seniors, who have played together for a handful of years.

“They’re great kids,” Van Dood said. “They’re great leaders. They’re great role models for the younger kids and just a pleasure to coach, an absolute pleasure to coach.”

Asked how much he thought the game meant to them, Van Dood answered: “I think it was a huge night for them, absolutely. They have good memories of their last game on this home court. That’s tremendous for them.”

After most of her teammates had left the gym, Wilcenski was trying to come to terms with the reality that her final days in a Mattituck uniform are nearing an end.

“I just can’t believe it,” she said. “It still doesn’t feel real to me. I don’t know, it’s so bizarre. It just came so fast.”

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01/17/13 8:37pm
01/17/2013 8:37 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Courtney Murphy finding an opening to shoot while being defended by Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Julianne Cintron-Leonardo.

TUCKERS 52, MONARCHS 11

The losses have been one-sided, mind-numbingly one-sided for the Bishop McGann-Mercy girls basketball team. Just look at some of the results: 53-15 to Mount Sinai, 61-19 to Mattituck, 70-16 to Huntington, 55-10 to Babylon, 51-11 to Southampton. And then there was the biggest loss of the bunch: 72-14 to Hampton Bays.

Make room for another: 52-11 to Mattituck on Thursday night.

For the coach of a young, undersized team that is light on playing experience and depth, Jacki Paton may surprise some people in that she is not about to jump off a bridge. Far from it. Paton said that for all of those losses by her winless team, there have been a thousand good things to appreciate.

“It’s been a very good season,” she said. “They’re working as hard as they can, and we are young. We’re young not only age-wise, but definitely experience-wise, but they’re giving a hundred percent every day, and every day they do get better.”

“Everything is building blocks,” she continued. “So, if we can build and every day get a little bit better, ultimately, that’s success, isn’t it?”

In a game that carried little mystery beyond when McGann-Mercy would score its first point and whether the Monarchs would reach double figures, Mattituck rolled on its home court. The Tuckers (8-5, 5-2 Suffolk County League VII) need only one more win to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth time in eight years.

“That’s an achievement,” said Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood.

The difference between the teams was seen from the start of the Coaches vs. Cancer game, which raised money for cancer research. For most of the first half, the outstanding question was whether or not Mattituck would pull off the nearly unheard of feat of taking a shutout into halftime. The Tuckers had bolted to a 28-0 lead before McGann-Mercy (0-12, 0-7) finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a jump shot by Mary Reiter with eight seconds left in the second quarter. The Monarchs managed only 2 points in the third quarter from a layup by Delaney Macchirole.

McGann-Mercy, which entered the contest averaging 19.4 points per game, didn’t reach double figures until Meghan Kuehas banked in a shot during the game’s final seconds.

The Monarchs lost one of their eight players when Julianne Cintron-Leonardo, a freshman forward, took a hard fall near one of the baskets, injuring her left ankle with 7:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Cintron-Leonardo had her ankle wrapped and exited the gym on crutches. Paton said she did not know how severe the injury is.

“She’s a tough kid, and she went down hard,” Paton said. “Normally after a couple of seconds she bounces right back up. I’m sure it’s a nice sprain. She’ll run through a brick wall for you. She’ll give you her heart and soul, 100 percent, a tough rebounder.”

Allie Wilcenski led 10 Mattituck scorers with 13 points and Courtney Murphy put in 11.

The top scorer for McGann-Mercy, which was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, was Macchirole with 4 points.

While Mattituck shot 54.5 percent (24 off 44) from the field, McGann-Mercy hit only 14.8 percent (4 of 27) of its shots.

Van Dood said it was a plus that he was able to give all 13 of his players at least one quarter of playing time. Mattituck’s bench produced 22 points.

“I think we got to see a lot of good things from a lot of the girls who don’t usually get a lot of [playing] time,” said Wilcenski.

“Some of the younger girls did a good job,” said Van Dood, who cited Molly Kowalski, Katie Hoeg, Megan Daly and Murphy by name. “It was an opportunity for them to show us something and see what we have for the future. Maybe they can move a peg up … in the pecking order.”

Mattituck’s players put a lot into the organization that surrounded the Coaches vs. Cancer event. Van Dood said players cooked, baked, did art work and tied pink balloons to the chairs the players sat in during the game. Before the game, in keeping with team tradition, Mattituck players announced to the crowd someone they know who has been affected by cancer who they are playing for.

“It’s a shame, but everybody knows somebody who was affected by it,” Van Dood said. “I think that hits home with the kids.” He said that in playing for a good cause and winning, “it’s a win-win for everybody.”

For the Monarchs, though, a win on the court still eludes them.

“I respect them a lot for coming out every game and still trying,” said Wilcenski.

McGann-Mercy junior guard Savannah Schwack said team morale is good, regardless of the win-loss record. “It’s been tough, but we’re working as hard as we can,” she said. “If someone does something wrong, we just give them a high five and tell them to try better.”

Thursday’s game may not have brought the result Paton was hoping for on her birthday, but she sees the big picture.

“They come out positive,” she said of her players. “They come out knowing that they put in a hundred percent, but they care about what they’re doing and they’re getting better, and they’re not only getting better as players, they’re getting better as people.”

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