06/27/13 10:43pm
06/27/2013 10:43 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck guard Eugene Allen drives to the basket against Mount Sinai Thursday in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League.

BROOKHAVEN SUMMER LEAGUE  |  TUCKERS 38, PANTHERS 37

Sure, it was only summer league.

But as Eugene Allen headed to the free-throw line with 8.2 seconds left and the Mattituck Tuckers down by a point, he could still feel the pressure.

“I was really nervous,” Allen said. “I looked over at coach and I was like, oh God.”

The nerves hardly bothered him. Allen calmly stepped to the line and sank both free throws to lift the Tuckers to a 38-37 win over Miller Place at Eastport-South Manor High School Thursday night. The Tuckers improved to 2-0 in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League.

Fittingly, it was Allen who had the ball in his hands at the end.

Allen torched Miller Place for 17 first-half points, nearly outscoring the Panthers by himself. A varsity player since the end of his freshman season, Allen (21 points) is part of a core of returning players for Mattituck who have their sights set on taking a big stride forward in the upcoming varsity season.

To continue that improvement, the Tuckers are playing in two separate summer leagues together, where they’ll play about 25 games.

The Tuckers were shorthanded against Miller Place with only two bench players.

So Allen stepped up to carry the team early, showing why he’ll be an impact player for the Tuckers come November.

Now standing 6-foot-1, Allen has grown about two inches since last year. And he’s packed on about 25 pounds to fill out his muscular frame.

He showed off his athleticism in the first half with two fast-break, one-handed dunks.

While he’s yet to get a dunk in a varsity game, Allen said it won’t take much longer.

“That’s going to come the first game, no doubt,” he said. “I’m going to be feeling it that game.”

The summer league is the start of a busy schedule for Allen over the next few months. He’s playing on both Mattituck summer league teams, an AAU team and working out with the football team to prepare for the upcoming fall season.

“It’s a busy, busy summer,” Allen said.

Allen is hoping to play either basketball or football in college. The summer, particularly in AAU, is a chance for him to showcase his basketball skills to some college coaches.

One of his biggest goals for the summer is improving his shooting skills.

“Just shooting the ball a lot,” he said. “My handle, free throws, everything.”

Allen showed off his jump shot against Miller Place early on. He sank two long jumpers to start the game.

“That gets me going if I see my shot falling,” Allen said.

Allen scored 11 straight points at one point in the first half, capped by a one-handed fastbreak dunk to put Mattituck ahead 19-13.

The Tuckers took a 27-18 lead into halftime and grabbed their biggest lead early in the second half when Parker Tuthill sank a free throw to make it 34-20.

But the Tuckers did not hit a field goal over the final 18 minutes of the game and Miller Place came storming back with a 15-0 run to regain the lead with 43 seconds left.

Mattituck regained the lead when Tuthill sank a pair of clutch free throws. The Panthers answered back with two points with 16 seconds left and the Tuckers called a timeout.

Mattituck got the ball into Allen out of the timeout and he was fouled in the corner as Miller Place attempted to double team him.

With most of Mattituck’s roster back from last season, Allen said the future is bright for the Tuckers.

“We’re going to have a successful season,” he said. “I think we’ll have a real special season.”

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01/29/13 8:59pm
01/29/2013 8:59 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Eugene Allen of Mattituck, protecting the ball while splitting a pair of Port Jefferson defenders, produced 14 points and 18 rebounds.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Eugene Allen of Mattituck, protecting the ball while splitting a pair of Port Jefferson defenders, produced 14 points and 18 rebounds.

TUCKERS 59, ROYALS 43

The Mattituck boys basketball team still has a pulse — barely.

True, the Tuckers may be essentially on a life-support system as far as their playoff chances are concerned, but they’re still alive. They can thank their third win in four games — a 59-43 defeat of Port Jefferson on Tuesday night — for that.

Mattituck (4-11, 4-7 Suffolk County League VII) needs to win its three remaining regular-season games in order to avoid sitting out the playoffs for the second year in a row. That is a tall order, though, with two of those remaining games coming against League VII’s top two teams, Babylon and Southampton.

“It’s tough,” Mattituck sophomore Will Gildersleeve said. “Anything is possible. We just got to keep playing hard. Playoffs are something we all strive for, obviously, but at the end of the day, I think we’re getting better as a team.”

Tuesday night’s game at Port Jefferson High School was a showdown between two desperate teams fighting for a playoff life. With its fourth loss in five games, Port Jefferson (6-9, 4-7) must sweep its final three regular-season games in order to avoid playoff elimination.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Tyler Connell of Mattituck reaching out to collect the ball during Tuesday night's game in Port Jefferson.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Tyler Connell of Mattituck reaching out to collect the ball during Tuesday night’s game in Port Jefferson.

How has Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood been handling his team’s approach to the playoff picture?

He hasn’t been talking about it.

“The reality of us winning [three] in a row is very slim,” he said, acknowledging the strength of Babylon and Southampton. “Those two have kind of separated themselves from the rest of the league. No one has really been able to touch them, so right now our focus is on getting better.”

And there is tangible evidence that the Tuckers have done just that. Look at Mattituck’s 3-1 record for the second half of the league season.

“I just think we’re getting better every game, and that’s all that matters,” said Gildersleeve.

The way Mattituck hung in there and then seized the momentum from Port Jefferson to win a must-win game was admirable. Except for a 2-0 lead from a Eugene Allen layup in the game’s early moments, Mattituck trailed for the entire first half before rallying in a big way in the second half. Allen scored 7 points during a paralyzing 16-0 run that gave the Tuckers a 56-37 lead in the fourth quarter. Mattituck shot 6 of 7 from the field during that spell.

By the time a spectator was ejected from the gym for apparently criticizing the officiating with 4 minutes 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the game was all but sewn up. Mattituck put in 48.9 percent (22 of 45) of its field-goal attempts and outrebounded Port Jefferson, 34-24.

Port Jefferson’s shooting touch had deserted the Royals. They shot 4 of 17 from the field in the fourth quarter and 7 of 28 in the second half.

Gildersleeve led Mattituck with 17 points, falling 3 points shy of the season-high total that he put up in a loss to Port Jefferson on Jan. 4. Allen and Justin Tyler provided 14 points each and Joe Tardif delivered 8 assists. Allen also grabbed 18 rebounds, 15 on the defensive end.

Mattituck clamped down on two of Port Jefferson’s better players, Jasper Rubin-Sigler and Cody Steiner. In the second half, the Tuckers switched from a diamond-and-one defense to a 3-2 zone. Steiner scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half and he also pulled down 11 rebounds. Rubin-Sigler had 7 points and 5 assists.

“It was a sweet win,” Ellwood said. He said his team “really played smart and hard.”

Mattituck has a young team. Ellwood’s starting lineup on Tuesday night included a freshman, Tardif, and two sophomores, Chris Dwyer and Gildersleeve. The team has only three seniors — Tyler Connell, Ryan Finger and Tyler — so the bulk of the squad will be back next season, whether Mattituck reaches the playoffs or not.

Addressing Mattituck’s slim playoff prospects, Allen said: “I’m not going to look at is as like we’re going to lose. I’m going to look at it as we come out good, we come out strong, fighting, playing basketball like we know how to.”

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10/19/12 11:31pm
10/19/2012 11:31 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Eugene Allen of Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island using his legs to pick up yards with Center Moriches’ Timothy Anthony in pursuit.

RED DEVILS 21, PORTERS 14

When the game started, Center Moriches was the only football team that was lower than Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island in the Suffolk County Division IV standings. But after the two winless teams played on Friday night, it was hard to imagine anyone feeling lower than the Porters.

In the matchup between two 0-6 teams, one team had to win, and that team was Center Moriches. Tyrell Thomas threw two touchdown passes in addition to running for another touchdown and a two-point conversion as Center Moriches secured a 21-14 victory at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field. It was the 12th straight loss for the Porters, and possibly the toughest of them all.

“It’s an awful feeling,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s doleful coach, Jack Martilotta, said. “I’m sure the kids feel awful. It’s hard. Losing is hard.”

Nobody has to tell Center Moriches that. The Red Devils can relate to Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s woes. They also had their hearts set on putting a marker in the “W” column.

Center Moriches, which was a playoff team the last three years, underwent a major overhaul, returning only two players from last year’s squad. The Red Devils have more juniors and sophomores (16) than seniors (six), but that didn’t keep them from rising to the occasion on Friday night.

“Emotionally, it’s been really tough going week after week and losing close games because we never really got blown out, and to finally taste a victory, it’s just unreal,” Center Moriches inside linebacker Ryan Lewis said. “First one of the year. It feels great. We didn’t even know what to do because we just won. We never celebrated before so we were like in shock.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island’s Sal Loverde leaping up to make a 26-yard reception while being watched by Center Moriches’ Mekhai Godley, left, and Bryan Foster.

Thomas (15 of 23, 227 yards), a sophomore quarterback/safety, knew what to do during the game. He scored on a six-yard run in between scoring tosses of 64 yards to Zachary Brady and 25 yards to Michael Speed. The pass to Speed on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Center Moriches a 21-7 lead.

The Porters pulled themselves back in the game when Eugene Allen found John Drinkwater in the corner of the end zone with a five-yard pass on fourth down, capping a 13-play, 70-yard scoring drive with 6 minutes 52 seconds to go in the contest. It was Allen’s second touchdown pass of the game.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island had an opportunity to score again when a bad snap on a fourth-down punt play gave the Porters the ball at the Center Moriches 34-yard line with 3:40 remaining. The Porters moved the ball to the 15 before losing possession on downs.

The final dagger came when an offsides penalty by the Porters on a fourth-down play gave Center Moriches a first down with 1:16 to go. That allowed the Red Devils to run out the clock.

“I wanted this for them so bad because they didn’t deserve to go 0 and 7,” Center Moriches coach Steve Failla said of his players. “To be honest with you, they all inspire me.”

Things had started off promisingly for the Porters when they scored first for the first time in a game this season thanks to Allen’s 37-yard pass to a wide open Christian Angelson, who waited for the ball to arrive before turning and charging into the end zone with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

But an ill-timed timeout and three personal fouls that amounted to 45 yards hurt the Porters.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned,” Martilotta said of the personal fouls. “Everything’s a habit. Losing’s a habit and winning’s a habit. I felt like we kind of defeated ourselves today.”

A timeout by the Porters led to Center Moriches’ first touchdown late in the second quarter. The timeout was called on a fourth-and-two situation on the Porters’ 36 with 32 seconds to go in the half. Martilotta said the timeout was called because his punt team was not ready and he didn’t want to give up a blocked punt or a delay-of-game penalty.

“It was a little confusion,” Martilotta said. “That was not at the best time, either.”

On the next play after Matt Drinkwater’s punt, Center Moriches scored on Thomas’ 64-yard pass to Brady. Thomas ran in the ensuing two-point conversion for an 8-7 lead for the Red Devils.

Most of the damage Center Moriches inflicted came through the air. John Cerverizzo caught seven of the 10 passes in which he was targeted for 96 yards.

Lewis played an inspired game. He was in on 16 tackles, including a sack, and recovered a fumble.

Allen had a productive game for the Porters, throwing for 110 yards on 8-of-12 passing and running the ball 19 times for 104 yards.

Connor Anderson had a hand in 10 tackles for the Porters, and Angelson made an acrobatic interception, tipping the ball up in the air to himself.

“We’re not an 0 and 7 team,” Allen said. “That’s what it is on paper, I know. All our guys work hard, practice hard. It’s just a bunch of mental stuff.”

With its win, Center Moriches received a boost to its mental well-being.

“I wanted to win this game bad,” Lewis said. “I just want to go home and celebrate right now and have a great time.”

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09/29/12 6:18pm
09/29/2012 6:18 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy quarterback Asaiah Wilson gave the Monarchs a 12-0 lead by scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run.

MONARCHS 12, PORTERS 7

These Monarchs have pride, and for good reason.

Bishop McGann-Mercy is off to one of the greatest starts in the football team’s history. Indeed, these are heady times for the Riverhead Catholic school. The Monarchs, who were seeded 12th in Suffolk County Division IV in a preseason coaches poll, brought their record to 4-0 on Saturday with a 12-7 homecoming win over Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field.

“Mercy football, 4 and 0!” said Asaiah Wilson, who played quarterback and safety for McGann-Mercy. Wilson went so far as to proclaim this the “best team in Mercy history.”

McGann-Mercy coach Jeff Doroski said he did not know if the Monarchs had ever won their first four games in a season before. “We’re playing much more physical than we’ve ever played before,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s happening here.”

If the Monarchs were looking for an easy time against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island (0-4), it wasn’t happening. For one thing, it’s a rivalry game, and the Porters played what was easily their best game of the season.

McGann-Mercy can credit its defense for holding on during crunch time. After forcing McGann-Mercy to punt — and benefitting from a couple of penalties in the process — the Porters took possession at the Monarchs’ 40-yard line with 3 minutes 11 seconds to go in the game and the score 12-7. They reached the 16 before being stopped on a fourth-down play in which Eugene Allen absorbed a powerful initial hit by Wilson before being brought down by Ray Ellis for no gain. By holding the Porters several inches short of a first down, McGann-Mercy was able to run off four plays and the remaining time in the game.

“We lost basically by four inches,” said Allen, a junior who made his first start at quarterback. “We gave it all we can, just four inches. It was our game if we just made that one play.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island defensive back Jack Volinski breaking up a pass.

A controversial pass interference call against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island also had a big impact. The call came in the third quarter, negating an interception by Jack Volinski and allowing McGann-Mercy to retain possession. Two plays later, Wilson took the ball 10 yards on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that made the score 12-0 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

“That might have been the game,” Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island coach Jack Martilotta said. “I talked to the official about it. I have no clue why he called that.”

Wilson (7 of 16, 139 yards), a junior transfer from Longwood, was also involved in McGann-Mercy’s first touchdown. He flipped a screen pass to Reggie Archer for a 37-yard touchdown completion in the second quarter.

Archer had a productive running game as well. Traversing a muddy, slick field that made it hard to get traction, the sophomore accumulated 122 yards from 29 carries.

A promising 11-play, 65-yard drive by McGann-Mercy reached the Porters’ 7-yard line. But the Monarchs came away empty-handed on the final play of the first half when Ed Kneski’s 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Timmy Stevens.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island got on the scoreboard with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Porters capped a 16-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Allen, making it a one-score game.

Allen is a playmaker, and that was the Porters’ thinking in going with him at quarterback instead of Matt Drinkwater, who had started the first three games at that position.

“We’re trying to get the ball in his hands as much as we can,” Martilotta said. “Drinkwater was doing well, but we feel [Allen] gives us a better chance to win. He’s quite an athlete. He made a couple of things happen today.”

Allen completed his last eight passes, going 10 of 11 for 104 yards. He said he took his first snaps as a quarterback since he was a freshman, and had not worked on his passing since mini camp over the summer. But he said he was confident. “I think if I had to, I can play any position on the field,” he said.

Allen took his share of hits from a McGann-Mercy defense that was a tough nut to crack. Pat Marelli made a game-high eight tackles, including one of the Monarchs’ six sacks.

Instead of their first win, the Porters dropped their ninth straight loss dating back to last year.

“It hurts,” Martilotta said. He added, “If we got that first down right there [near the end of the game], we’d be having a different interview right now.”

Meanwhile, these are happy times at McGann-Mercy, where the school is abuzz about what its football team has been doing. The Monarchs started the day in third place. Who knows where they will end up by the time the regular season ends? At this point, it looks like a safe bet that the Monarchs will be making their first playoff appearance since 2007. Their remaining games are against Port Jefferson, Shoreham-Wading River, The Stony Brook School and East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but something like this, I’m just shocked,” Wilson said. “I’m overwhelmed.”

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