Amber Davis was having a game to forget. The Center Moriches junior forward was scoreless for the first 23:25 of the game and picked up her fourth foul with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
Davis sat on the bench for the next four minutes, but when she returned, she made it a night to remember. Davis scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter as host Center Moriches rallied to beat Mattituck, 41-37, last night in a Suffolk League VII girls basketball game.
"Usually, it's not good when I'm off," Davis said. "I usually get mad. It was difficult to struggle like that. I wasn't going to lose. I just had to step up."
Davis scored her first points of the game with 35 seconds left in the third quarter on a jumper to pull Center Moriches (4-1, 1-0) within 31-26.
In the fourth quarter, Davis scored on a drive to the basket and then hit a three-pointer with 5:33 left to give the Red Devils a 33-32 lead it never relinquished.
"Usually, we do a better job of finding her," Center Moriches coach Rich Alifano said. "She decided to become a presence late in the game. She demanded the ball and stepped up and showed the how good of a player she is."
Davis went 2-for-4 from the foul line to make it 35-32 and Kelsey Glanzman scored on a putback to extend the lead to 37-32 with 3:25 left. Stefanie Loverde scored on a runner and Theresa Zuhoski went 1-for-2 from the foul line to pull Mattituck (3-1, 0-1) within 37-35.
Then Jessica Bandrowski (13 points) forced a steal and fed Davis for a layup with 44 seconds left to make it 39-35.
"Defense is out main thing," Bandrowski said. "We didn't play our best offensively, but we played defense the whole game."
It proved to be crucial as Center Moriches outscored Mattituck 13-6 in the final quarter as the Tuckers had one field goal.
Both teams were plagued by foul trouble. Glanzman fouled out with 2:30 left, Zuhoski fouled out and Mattituck's leading scorer, Stephenie Pisacano fouled out with 1:25 left in the game. She picked up her fourth foul with 2:54 left in the first half and didn't return until there was seven minutes left in the game.
"That really hurt us," Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood said. "She's our leading scorer, but it gave the younger players a chance to play. They are probably the No. 1 Small School in Suffolk, so this isn't so bad."