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12/07/19 8:04pm
12/07/2019 8:04 PM

Ever since a high school boys basketball preview story last month mentioned that Xavier Allen was entering the new season just 69 points shy of 1,000 career points, he hasn’t heard the end of it. Fielding questions from people asking him when he would reach that mark had become a daily routine. READ

04/30/14 6:00pm
04/30/2014 6:00 PM
Gene Allen, shown in a game against Bayport-Blue Point last season, proved to be tough to tackle. The Greenport/Southold/Mattituck senior has made Hartwick College his college choice. (Credit: Garret Meade file)

Gene Allen, shown in a game against Bayport-Blue Point last season, proved to be tough to tackle. The Greenport/Southold/Mattituck senior has made Hartwick College his college choice. (Credit: Garret Meade file)

Gene Allen recalls being encouraged to hit the weight room a few years ago. It wasn’t later, however, until he truly committed himself to weight training. What a difference it has made.

“Words can’t even describe how much the weight room helped,” he said.

Lifting all those weights not only sculpted the Mattituck High School senior’s muscles and enabled him to lead Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s football team to its finest season in over three decades, it also gave Allen a future in college football. Allen has made Hartwick College his college of choice, declaring that he will play football for the NCAA Division III team.  (more…)

02/11/14 9:29pm
02/11/2014 9:29 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Gene Allen rises above the rim for an attempt at the basket during his team's loss to Wyandanch in an outbracket game on Tuesday evening.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Gene Allen rises above the rim for an attempt at the basket during his team’s loss to Wyandanch in an outbracket game on Tuesday evening.


They call them the Warriors for a reason.

Not only is that the nickname of the Wyandanch Memorial High School boys basketball team, but the term exemplifies its fighting spirit.  (more…)

12/13/13 10:13pm
12/13/2013 10:13 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Chris Dwyer of Mattituck sinking a 3-point shot as Port Jefferson's Cameron Harvey defends. Dwyer scored a career-high 21 points.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Chris Dwyer of Mattituck sinking a 3-point shot as Port Jefferson’s Cameron Harvey defends. Dwyer scored a career-high 21 points.


He is the indispensable one, the single player that the Mattituck High School boys basketball team cannot afford to lose. On Friday night he showed why.

Gene Allen, whose above-the-rim game cannot be duplicated by any of his teammates, put his leaping ability and nose for rebounds to good use as the Tuckers opened their League VII season in winning fashion, 64-54 over visiting Port Jefferson. Allen had a double-double by halftime. The 6-foot-1 senior forward played all 32 minutes, grabbing 22 rebounds to go with 19 points and 5 assists.

Afterward, Port Jefferson coach Keith Buehler, who appreciates good basketball, congratulated Allen on his performance and shook his hand.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck's Parker Tuthill, a sophomore guard making his first varsity start, popped a 3-point attempt over Port Jefferson's Harry Colucci.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Mattituck’s Parker Tuthill, a sophomore guard making his first varsity start, popped a 3-point attempt over Port Jefferson’s Harry Colucci.

Mattituck (3-0, 1-0) is known for its fine guard play and depth in the back court, but it was two of the team’s big bodies, Allen and Chris Dwyer, who made the biggest difference. Dwyer, a junior forward, hit three 3-pointers and dropped in a career-high 21 points.

Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood started the game with three guards in the starting lineup: Will Gildersleeve, Joe Tardif and Parker Tuthill, a sophomore making his first varsity start. That trio combined for 23 points, 12 of them coming from Gildersleeve. Tardif and Tuthill had 6 assists each.

Allen and the Tuckers took charge from the beginning as Mattituck hit 8 of its 13 shots from the field in the first quarter. Port Jefferson (0-2, 0-1), meanwhile, had started off going 3 for 15, and never held the lead.

Allen had 10 points by the time Mattituck built a 19-6 lead early in the second quarter. Perhaps Allen’s most memorable play came on a nifty setup from Tardif in the third quarter when Allen directed in a soft touch shot for a 37-27 lead. The Royals pulled to within 8 points of Mattituck three times in the third quarter, but that was as close as they got.

Port Jefferson kept itself in the game thanks to the play of Cody Steiner (24 points, 10 rebounds) and 20 offensive rebounds. Also, the Royals turned the ball over only four times.

But the Tuckers can put up points, and they did that with 47.4-percent field-goal shooting to Port Jefferson’s 33.3 percent.

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12/10/13 8:17pm
12/10/2013 8:17 PM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck has numerous scoring options, including Will Gildersleeve, who scored a career-high 27 points against Bridgehampton.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck has numerous scoring options, including Will Gildersleeve, who scored a career-high 27 points against Bridgehampton.

Two games into the high school boys basketball season, and Parker Tuthill has yet to score a 2-point basket.

Under normal circumstances, that would be a cause for concern. As it is, though, Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood can flash a grin at that statistical oddity, the reason being Tuthill has drilled 10 of the team’s 20 3-point shots so far.

Ironically, Ellwood said he thinks of Tuthill, a sophomore guard in his first varsity season, as a driver before a shooter. But Tuthill has been doing what good players do: He is taking what the defense gives him.

In Mattituck’s first two games — non-league wins over Bridgehampton on Friday and over Smithtown Christian on Saturday — the Tuckers faced zone defenses. Tuthill, who was the first player off the bench in both games, thrived.

Tuthill downed seven 3-pointers for 21 points in the 79-50 win over Smithtown Christian as the Tuckers tied a school record with 12 treys, equaling the amount of 3-pointers they hit in a 1999 game against Southold.

“I’m surprised I hit all those shots,” Tuthill said before Tuesday’s practice. “I just felt it that game. The basket looks 10 times bigger when you’re making shots.”

Will Gildersleeve added 17 points. Gene Allen provided the Tuckers with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Tuckers had eight threes in their 83-60 defeat of Bridgehampton. Gildersleeve struck for a career-high 27 points in that game. Allen, who grabbed 13 rebounds, scored 15 points as did Chris Dwyer.

“We have a lot of zone breakers,” said Ellwood.

Tuthill is obviously one of them. He has invested hours upon hours of time into his outside shot, and it shows. Sometimes he can tell as soon as the ball leaves his hands that it will fall through the netting. “I love that feeling,” he said.

Tuthill looks like he belongs on the varsity scene, and he looks sure of himself.

“He is very level-headed,” Ellwood said. “When you look at Parker when he comes off the floor, you don’t know if he just turned the ball over three times in a row or just hit three threes in a row. He has the same temperament, which is a good thing.”

The Tuckers give opponents a lot to deal with. Aside from Tuthill, the team has legitimate outside threats in Gildersleeve, Joe Tardif, Dwyer and Auggie Knuth. That sort of outside shooting creates openings for penetrating drives to the basket.

“That’s the thing, anyone can score on our team,” Allen said. “We’re deep in scoring. Even the kids coming off the bench can score, so scoring really isn’t a problem for our team.”

For all the points the Tuckers put on the scoreboard, Ellwood sounded most encouraged by the improvement he saw defensively in the team. “Our defense led to easy offense in those games,” he said. “That’s what kind of got us going.”

In at least one instance, the box score lied. Tardif managed only 1 point against Smithtown Christian, but Ellwood said Tardif’s defensive work in the full-court press was a difference-maker. “He changed the whole tempo of the game,” said the coach.

The 6-foot-2 Allen, who plays bigger than his height, had four dunks over the two games. The Tuckers had only two dunks over the past 11 years heading into this season.

“It gets the crowd riled up,” Allen said. “I like it.”

The Tuckers must also like the play of Gildersleeve, who seems to be flourishing among all the offensive weapons surrounding him.

“They have to double him to stop him from getting to the basket because he’ll get to the basket,” Ellwood said. “… He made great decisions both nights. … A lot of times he found open teammates under the basket for easy baskets. Other times he got to the foul line and other times he finished, and obviously he finished a lot.”

By sharing the ball and making sound decisions on the break, the Tuckers hit the season running. Ellwood said Mattituck is playing like a late January team instead of an early December team. Ellwood said his rotation went a “solid eight deep,” but all 13 players played significant minutes in the two games.

It seems as if the Tuckers are well-prepared for their next two games, League VII contests against Port Jefferson and Wyandanch. Perhaps Tuthill’s first 2-pointer will come in one of those games.

“Hopefully next game,” Ellwood said, “although we’re playing Port Jeff, which plays zone, so I don’t know.”

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09/12/13 11:00pm
09/12/2013 11:00 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck's Connor Malone, left, and Gene Allen sandwiched Wyandanch's Kamar Harris, who was unable to catch this pass.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s Connor Malone, left, and Gene Allen sandwiched Wyandanch’s Kamar Harris, who was unable to catch this pass.


The 13-game losing streak is history.

Greenport/Southold/Mattituck happily bid it farewell Thursday night by not only snapping the skid, but obliterating it. Wyandanch was the unfortunate football team that got in the way.

“It’s gone, gone, gone, nowhere to be found,” proclaimed Connor Andersen, the Porters’ happy fullback and middle linebacker.

Matt Drinkwater threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Porters dominated their season opener, a 38-0 trouncing of Wyandanch. The game at Greenport High School’s Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field was stopped with 7 minutes 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter when the Wyandanch quarterback, Taquan Brooks, suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury during a scramble for a fumble. While preparations were being made to carry Brooks into a Greenport Fire Department Rescue Squad vehicle, officials decided to end the game.

Talking about his team’s performance, Drinkwater said, “I think the score speaks for itself.”

Perhaps “shouts for itself” would be more like it.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck's Codey Fisher pulled on Wyandanch quarterback Taquan Brooks' jersey while Jon Bakowski (60) closes in.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck’s Codey Fisher pulled on Wyandanch quarterback Taquan Brooks’ jersey while Jon Bakowski (60) closes in.

No. 13 seed Greenport/Southold/Mattituck and No. 14 Wyandanch are the two lowest-seeded teams in Suffolk County Division IV, but the Porters didn’t play like a No. 13 seed as they posted their first win since September of 2011 when they beat Stony Brook. The combination of Drinkwater’s all-around play and the shutout performance by the Porters’ defense was too much for Wyandanch to handle.

Drinkwater played unquestionably the best game of his career. The junior quarterback went 5 of 9 passing for 71 yards, with three of those completions going for touchdowns, two by Gene Allen, the other by Christian Angelson. Drinkwater did all of his damage over the first three quarters; he was spelled at quarterback in the fourth quarter by Dylan Marlborough.

Drinkwater credited the large offensive line in front of him. “I really want to attribute a lot of that to our offensive line,” he said. “I had plenty of time today. The pockets were great, the throwing lanes were great, and I was able to find the open guy. I had time.”

Drinkwater didn’t do badly as an outside linebacker, either. He spearheaded the tough Porters defense with a game-high 8 tackles (two for a loss), a sack and a pass deflected.

The Porters limited Wyandanch to 79 yards in offense (52 rushing and 27 passing) and five first downs. Three Warriors finished the game with minus rushing yardage, and Brooks was sacked four times. Wyandanch went 1 for 9 on third-down plays and completed only three passes.

“We stopped their run game,” Andersen said. “We were a little worried about their pass game, but we shut that down real quick.”

Another factor was penalties, 13 of which cost Wyandanch 75 yards.

It wasn’t Drinkwater’s arm, but his legs that opened the scoring 8:08 into the game when he darted into the end zone on a 31-yard quarterback keeper.

A punt block by Sal Loverde and recovery by Jon Bakowski set up the Porters’ second score, a 20-yard field goal by John Drinkwater, Matt’s twin brother, six seconds into the second quarter.

Matt Drinkwater then hooked up with Allen for touchdown connections of 12 and 32 yards, helping to make the score 24-0 by halftime.

A 24-yard reception by Angelson in the third quarter and a 3-yard run by Bill McAllister in the fourth accounted for the last two touchdowns.

“Our offense and our defense are both clicking amazingly,” Matt Drinkwater said. “We’re putting it all together now. We have a chance to do something really special with this team.”

The Porters were disciplined, committing only two penalties, one of which nullified what would have been the game’s most electrifying play, a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Allen.

The game was brought to an early end when Brooks was injured while pursuing a fumble from a botched handoff. Allen said one of his teammates, Tyshe Williams, rolled on Brooks’ left leg, which medical personnel later put in an air cast.

Porters coach Jack Martilotta said his team is different from last year’s squad in many ways. “We were able to get the kids into the weight room and get them lifting, and there’s a certain pride I feel that they have in this now,” he said.

It is also apparent that the Porters grew tired of losing, whether it be by blowouts, close games or anything in between, and were determined to do something about it. Still, the dramatic turnaround was glaring.

When one of his teammates was asked if he was surprised at how one-sided the game was, Allen smiled and interjected. “It’s not hard to believe,” he said. “We’re supposed to be doing this.”

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08/20/13 2:34pm
08/20/2013 2:34 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gene Allen said coming off an 0-8 season has given the Porters more motivation for the coming campaign.

Perhaps nothing fosters team bonding better than going away to camp like the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team did last month.

For three days, the Porters got away from distractions and focused on football at a team camp at Stony Brook University. They roomed together, practiced three times a day, scrimmaged against Amityville and Syosset, and clicked the fast forward button on their development.

“It was one of the best experiences of my football career,” said Gene Allen, a versatile senior who plays cornerback, rover, wide receiver and quarterback.

It still may be premature to say just how much of a benefit the camp was, but the Porters claim they are already seeing positive results from it. If there was one drawback to camp life, it was the heat they had to deal with on the roasting field turf at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

“It got up to 120” degrees, said Connor Andersen, a senior guard/middle linebacker. “Some kids’ cleats were melting.”

By comparison, the two-a-day preseason practices that the Porters started on Monday at Greenport High School are no problem.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Assistant coach Chris Robinson working with Willie Riggins while assistant coach Mike Miller watches in the background.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Assistant coach Chris Robinson working with Willie Riggins while assistant coach Mike Miller watches in the background.

“It was a great experience,” coach Jack Martilotta said of the camp. “The heat was a little much. We had a couple of shoes start melting apart. All the kids who went to the camp, they’re breezing through this. A lot of kids spent a lot of time in the off-season making sure they were in shape, and I think it’s showing right now.”

Off-season training, fueled in part by the determination to turn things around after an 0-8 season last year, can work wonders. The 2012 season was hardly kind to the Porters. A double-overtime, season-ending loss to Southampton put an end to their pain. It was the 13th consecutive loss for the Porters, who dropped three games last year by a total of 18 points.

“It was rough because no one expects going into a season and being 0 and 8,” Allen said. “That just killed me, and now it’s just extra motivation.”

Andersen said motivation is the only thing he takes away from last season. “Hopefully that motivation will turn into wins,” he said. “We’ve been looking phenomenal. The Stony Brook camp helped a lot. We’re running plays really smooth, and we’re all close as a family and as a team.”

All the way around, the Porters appear to be in a better situation than they were a year ago. As the No. 13 seed among the 14 teams in Suffolk County Division IV, they have a more forgiving schedule. They lost five players to graduation, but have more than a dozen seniors this year.

“They play like seniors,” Martilotta said. “They’re young men and they lead, and young kids look up to it.”

An example of that leadership was seen near the end of Tuesday morning’s practice when a number of varsity players ran alongside a junior varsity player, Chris Schwamborn, and encouraged him as he completed a conditioning run.

In addition to returning veterans like Allen, Andersen, running back Frank Sierra and lineman Cody Fisher, the Porters have a transfer from Bishop McGann-Mercy, senior lineman Owen Finnegan, who should help. The Porters didn’t have a junior varsity team last season and barely had enough players to field a JV team two years ago, but numbers are up, and Martilotta said there will be a JV team this year.

Jared Schenone, a senior quarterback, has been a bystander during these first practices. He had an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago after having been told that his appendix had burst without him knowing it two weeks earlier while he was at the Stony Brook camp. Schenone, who sat out the entire 2012 season with a wrist injury, is awaiting medical clearance to practice. In the meantime, the Porters still have Allen and Matt Drinkwater, who threw most of the team’s passes last season.

But what is past is past. The Porters are looking forward to better days ahead.

“We are a different team this year, I’ll tell you that, a hundred percent different team,” Allen said. “We have a bigger line. Everyone’s bigger … faster, stronger.”

If the Porters produce a season worth remembering, they may want to trace its beginnings to the camp in Stony Brook.

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08/08/13 11:50pm
08/08/2013 11:50 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Gene Allen attacking the basket during the Brookhaven Summer League small schools final against Westhampton Beach.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Gene Allen attacking the basket during the Brookhaven Summer League small schools final against Westhampton Beach.

One of the most valuable things to come out of this productive summer for the Mattituck boys basketball team is its proven ability to pull out close games. That’s a wonderful quality, and was best illustrated in the team’s 1-point wins over Miller Place and Greenport during the Town of Brookhaven Summer League regular season.

That knack for winning the close ones doesn’t seem to work against Westhampton Beach, though.

During the regular season, Westhampton Beach handed Mattituck an 8-point loss. Things were even tighter when the teams met again in the small schools final on Thursday evening, with Westhampton Beach prevailing by 4 points, 31-27. The defensive struggle at St. Joseph’s College’s John A. Danzi Athletic Center saw Mattituck’s lowest point output of the summer in the Brookhaven League.

Points were hard to come by. Through the first 15 minutes of running time, the scoreboard read 5-5, a score more fitting for a game played by elementary school-age players than two high school varsity teams. The Tuckers allowed only 13 points in the first half, and still trailed by 3 points because of Mike Frangeskos’ 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.

The teams stayed within 5 points of each other the whole way until Frangeskos sank a pair of free throws, putting the Hurricanes ahead, 29-27, late in the game for the seventh lead change.

Another two foul shots by Luke Dyer gave Westhampton Beach a little more breathing room with 13.9 seconds left.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Gene Allen attacking the basket during the Brookhaven Summer League small schools final against Westhampton Beach.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Auggie Knuth of Mattituck, under the shadow of  Westhampton Beach’s Luke Dyer, examines his options.

Both teams had their offensive struggles, with only about one-third of the shots finding their way through the basket. The shooting from the field was almost identical: Westhampton Beach shot 10 for 29 and Mattituck went 9 for 29.

“It was tough,” Mattituck’s sophomore point guard, Parker Tuthill, said. “We couldn’t get a flow to our offense, but defensively we were doing good. We stopped them a lot. We just couldn’t execute on offense.”

Frangesko led all scorers with 12 points. Dyer contributed 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block for the Hurricanes, who picked up their 10th win in 12 league games.

Gene Allen was Mattituck’s top scorer with 6 points. He also had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.

“It was a tough game,” Allen said. “It’s always a tough game when we play them.” He added, “Every time we play them, it’s hard to execute.”

What was Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood’s assessment of what he saw?

“It was hard for us to get looks,” he said. “We struggled to get anything going. … I think they had problems with our press, but we just didn’t score enough to get into it.”

It’s wise not to read too much into summer league results, but the fact that Mattituck (9-3) reached the championship game is evidence that it has done some things right.

The Tuckers also competed in a summer league in Southampton, going 7-7 in that league. By playing in both leagues, the Tuckers saw more playing time and had more opportunities to show what they can do.

“You never know what you’re going to get out of it,” Ellwood said of summer-league ball. “Sometimes the team grows. I think a lot of guys down in the pecking order got a lot of [playing] time and improved. I found roles for them on the team and how they can help us.”

Ellwood believes the Tuckers will be in a better situation when they start preseason practice for the school season than they were a year ago. It’s easy to see why. Mattituck returns its top three scorers (Will Gildersleeve, Allen and Chris Dwyer), its leading rebounder (Allen) and its No. 1 assist man (Joe Tardif) from last season.

Although the Tuckers have young players, they have basketball experience. Not a bad combination.

Among the developing young players who have looked good is Tuthill, who was the starting point guard for Mattituck’s 16-1 junior varsity team last season. “He had some games where he was just lights out,” said Ellwood.

The coach continued: “Parker’s going to be a tremendous player. He just needs to get a little meat on the bones. The only time he struggles is when bigger kids get physical with him. Other than that, the skill set is there. He can shoot. He’s going to grow up and get stronger. He’s going to be a handful. … He’s going to be a great player for us for the next three years.”

More encouragement comes from junior Josh Conklin and senior Tyler Reeve, who have provided the team with inside grit.

“Our front line was a weakness last year, so we addressed that with those two guys,” said Ellwood.

Playing in a league final, even if it is a summer league, has benefits, but Tuthill’s competitive fire may have made it difficult for him to sound upbeat after the league final.

“It’s a good experience,” he said, “but it would have been better if we had won.”

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07/11/13 11:21pm
07/11/2013 11:21 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Chris Dwyer (35) tangling with Southold's James Penny and Patrick Mejsak (40) for a rebound.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Chris Dwyer (35) tangling with Southold’s James Penny and Patrick Mejsak (40) for a rebound.

It was a typical scene for a summer league basketball game. Just moments before the opening tipoff, Chris Dwyer rushed into the sticky Patchogue-Medford High School gym and dropped off what looked like a small lunch box onto the Mattituck bench before heading onto the court. His coach, Paul Ellwood, joked about how Dwyer is a blue-collar player who literally brings a lunch box with him to the game.

The truth is, the container held a blue ice pack that Dwyer has been bringing to games this summer to give him some cool relief in hot gyms that could double as saunas.

Of course, that is not to say that Mattituck doesn’t have blue-collar players — not to mention talented players, improved players, up-and-coming players. In short, the Tuckers have a lot, and a lot to look forward to. The team has remained largely intact since the last school season. Mattituck players are refining their skills by playing in two summer leagues (Brookhaven and Southampton), and the results on the court have been encouraging.

“We’re looking good,” said Gene Allen.

That certainly includes Allen himself. The 6-foot-1 guard, who is Mattituck’s marquee player, looks taller and stronger as he prepares for his senior season.

Allen’s transition even caught Ellwood by surprise. “He just turned into a man overnight,” Ellwood said. “Unbelievable. I didn’t see him for like two weeks, and I couldn’t believe how much he changed.”

Allen’s above-the-rim game is undoubtedly coming along, too.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's headline player, Gene Allen, looks taller and stronger this summer.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s headline player, Gene Allen, looks taller and stronger this summer.

“He’s the role model of this team pretty much,” Dwyer said. “He’ll find everybody [with passes]. He makes other players look great.”

But Allen is only one of many familiar faces that seem to have given Mattituck a head start against many of its summer league opponents. Will Gildersleeve, Joe Tardif and Dwyer were also regular starters during the last school season. Twin brothers Ian and James Nish, who are both 6-2, have athleticism that helps the team defensively.

Of the younger players, though, sophomore point guard Parker Tuthill might be the one that raises some eyebrows.

“Parker’s going to be a sensational player,” Ellwood said. “He needs to get physically just a little stronger, but he’s got the skill set, a tremendous point guard.”

Of course, the one person who will not be surprised by any of the Tuckers is their coach. “I know I have a lot of good players who are going to step up, and they’re getting better,” said Ellwood.

With Allen pouring in a game-high 17 points, Mattituck brought its Brookhaven League record to 5-0 with a 50-32 romp over Southold at Patchogue-Medford High School on Thursday night. Allen also accounted for seven rebounds, three steals and two assists, but he lamented his 1-for-7 free-throw shooting.

Dwyer may have played his best game of the summer. The junior forward put up 11 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

Southold’s talented junior guard, Liam Walker, played well, too, supplying his side with 11 points while Alex Poliwoda added nine.

Mattituck shot 48.7 percent from the field, but what Dwyer liked best was its passing, which he raved about. All but one of Mattituck’s 19 baskets were assisted. “It looks good,” he said. “We’re flashing to the ball more. We’re driving.”

Allen explained: “You trust the person you’re passing the ball to. You know they’ll do something good with it.”

Despite the undefeated record in Brookhaven, Ellwood said he is even happier about how Mattituck is doing in the more competitive Southampton League, where it has to tangle with tough teams like Southampton, William Floyd, Riverhead, Bridgehampton and Center Moriches. The Tuckers were 3-3 in that league through Thursday.

By playing in both leagues, the Tuckers have the opportunity to play as many as four times a week. Ellwood said they will play a minimum of 25 games this summer, and as many as 29.

Allen said it amounts to “a lot of laundry.”

Not to mention playing experience.

Ellwood said the Tuckers have things to work on. He noticed that sometimes the team’s play gets stale when it settles for too many jump shots. Improvements need to be made, he said, in defensive toughness and interior offense. Still, all in all, it’s hard to complain about how things look in the middle of July.

“It’s encouraging,” Ellwood said. “I’m not so concerned about the record. We are 5 and 0. That’s nice, but you just want to see us taking steps in the right direction.”

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06/08/13 11:00am
06/08/2013 11:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Frank Sierra was the leading rusher for the Porters last season with 540 yards from 155 carries.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Frank Sierra was the leading rusher for the Porters last season with 540 yards from 155 carries.

The Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island football team has had enough of losing. Losing is something the Porters have known only too well over the past two years, and now they’re doing something about it.

A winless 2012 season that ended with a 26-20 double-overtime defeat to Southampton did not sit well with the Porters, who have lost 13 straight games dating back to 2011. Many of them, like Frank Sierra, have resolved to do all they can to see that next season brings the Porters some wins.

“It’s just something I never want to feel again,” said Sierra, who led the Porters with 540 rushing yards from 155 carries last year. “It was a horrible feeling.”

Borne from all those losses was a spirit of determination and motivation. A stronger Sierra said that ever since the football season ended, he has worked out in the weight room five days a week and ran on weekends with teammate Jared Schenone.

“Everyone’s determined,” said Gene Allen, who ran for three touchdowns, passed for three touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass in 2012. “We’re focused on working hard. We know what we have to do to win games.”

Players say they have noticed a changed attitude during the team’s weeklong mini-camp that concluded on Friday at Mattituck High School.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Connor Andersen, who made 19 tackles last season, working on his agility Friday, the final day of the weeklong mini-camp.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Connor Andersen, who made 19 tackles last season, working on his agility Friday, the final day of the weeklong mini-camp.

“Everyone’s hungry for some wins,” said Connor Andersen, who plays fullback and middle linebacker. “We have people pushing each other.”

Last year’s 0-8 record was something the Porters did not expect. Coming off a 1-7 season and a brutal schedule the year before, the Porters thought 2012 would be kinder to them. They were in for a rude surprise.

“I was shocked,” said Andersen.

Allen said: “Honestly, I thought we were going to win a handful of games. I thought we were going to go to the playoffs.”

The bulk of the team will return in August. In fact, the Porters have said goodbye to nine seniors over the past two years, and coach Jack Martilotta is expecting to have about 15 seniors on his roster in the fall.

That, along with a more forgiving schedule, provides the Porters with cause for optimism.

“We’ve got high hopes,” Martilotta said. “Last year, even though we didn’t win, we had a lot of close games — heartbreakingly close games — and we feel that this year it should tip in our favor.”

Martilotta said 55 players attended the mini-camp. One of the benefits of the mini-camp is that it gives players an idea of what to expect when preseason practice starts on Aug. 19. Before then, though, the Porters plan to attend a team camp at Stony Brook University in mid-July.

“They’re very motivated,” Martilotta said. “They really are. It shows the character of these young men.”

Among the players who participated in the mini-camp was Schenone, who sat out last season because of problems with his wrists, but is said to be looking forward to his senior season as the leading quarterback candidate. Schenone was brought up to the varsity team as a freshman three years ago along with Allen, Andersen and Sierra. They all witnessed firsthand what playoff football is about, and they would like to experience it again this coming fall as seniors.

“This year, it’s like, everyone is always talking about football 24/7,” Sierra said. “We’re always talking about what we can do to improve. This is our last year. We want to go out with a bang.”

Allen was already looking forward to the team’s season-opening game, which will be at home on Sept. 12 against Wyandanch.

“We’re going to be ready,” he said. “We know what it felt like to lose. Now we just want to win.”

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