The “Dwyerless era” is looking pretty good.
That’s what head coach Steve Van Dood has dubbed the days following Mattituck all-time leading scorer Liz Dwyer’s graduation last year. Actually, the Tuckers lost all five starters, but you may not have noticed it after the team got off to a 7-2 overall and 5-0 League VI start, which was capped by a 63-41 win over Greenport/Southold January 4.
“I’m starting to see things coming together and starting to see the girls playing more as a unit,” Van Dood said. “How they move off the ball and how they feed off each other — some of the passes they made we didn’t see in the beginning of the season.”
Senior Julie Seifert’s 15 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and two assists sparked Mattituck early. The forward knew when to dish it and when to take it, but struggled to get her shots to fall early. After a teammate told her she needed more of an arc, she immediately sank a foul shot with 6:05 left in the second period, and followed it up with a bucket to give her team the lead for good at 17-15. Two plays later, she grabbed an offensive rebound and followed it with a long-range field goal.
“On the boards she’s tough. She’s getting better and better every game; more confident,” her coach said. “We see it in her face every game. I love the way she’s playing. She shares the ball, she’s unselfish. We do a lot with her and through her and she’s really playing hard.”
Seifert and her teammates showed grit and determination on Greenport’s court, dashing to the ball with each pass to try and force a turnover.
“We’re like chickens with our heads cut off, but it works,” Seifert said. “With Liz gone, we’ve all morphed into her role. When you have more than four girls scoring . . . it’s hard to guard again a team like us when there’s only five players on the court at all times.”
Mackenzie Hoeg (14 points and five rebounds) led a balanced attack through all four quarters, scoring a three-pointer with 10 seconds left in the first for a 14-10 lead, and a layup on a breakaway with 45 seconds left in the second to give the team its first double-digit advantage, 28-17. Dominique Crews (10 points) made two three-pointers, the first coming with seconds left in the first half for a 31-19 lead. The Tuckers keyed in on Greenport/Southold’s scoring threat, Adrine Demirciyan, who still managed 16 points, and eighth-grader Skyler Mysliborski (nine points) who had many tricks up her young sleeves.
“We knew Adrine was going to be good — we knew we had to shut her down — but I think the most important thing was our press. If they get a turnover in the frontcourt, then we don’t have to worry so much about playing defense because we’re a good offensive team. If we limit their time on offense, we’re going to keep scoring.”
Ashley Perkins finished with eight points and Rachel Janis racked up six to go along with nine rebounds.
“We’re confident without being cocky. I think you need to have a little swagger, but at the same time you have to respect your opponent,” Seifert said. “I’ll be honest, we want to win the league title. I’ve been on varsity since sophomore year and I see how much pride there was in all the players before me. I just want to keep that going.”