Take a charge, get breakfast on the coach.
That’s how Mattituck girls basketball coach Steve Van Dood rewards his players for standing tall and taking contact.
Liz Dwyer took two charges during Mattituck’s 37-33 win over Carle Place in Tuesday’s Long Island Class B Championship at St. Joseph’s (L.I.), so she’ll get two days’ worth of breakfast on Van Dood.
“I owe her a lot of bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, that’s for sure,” Van Dood said.
To which Dwyer responded: “You owe me a lot!”
Van Dood’s breakfast-sandwich driven defense led to Mattituck’s first LI title in program history, and forced Carle Place to struggle offensively. The Tuckers used a variety of full-court presses to stifle the Frogs’ scorers, limiting Abigail Selhorn (eight points), Elissa Frein (eight), Kacey Burden (seven) and Leah Burden (six).
“We have five or six different sets and we like to change it up,” said Corinne Reda, who also took a charge. “At halftime we talked about it and threw a new one on them.”
Mattituck took a slim 21-19 lead into the half on Reda’s buzzer-beating layup. Reda, who scored five of her 11 points in the second quarter, played hero again later in the fourth.
The Tuckers’ largest lead of the game came at 32-27 before Frein and Selhorn hit consecutive three-pointers, giving Carle Place a 33-32 lead with 2:11 to play.
Katie Hoeg made one of two free throw attempts, tying the score. Then Briana Perino cut through the defense and converted the go-ahead layup for her only points of the game.
But with 46 seconds to play, Carle Place had time to run a set and find an open shooter. Mattituck (21-2) rotated and rebounded well — typical of their performance from the rest of the game — and put the ball in Reda’s hands with less than 15 seconds remaining.
The Frogs (14-7) fouled intentionally, putting her on the line.
“It’s so nerve-wracking,” Reda said of shooting free throws with the outcome in the balance.
But she split the first pair and then split another pair to ice a 37-33 win.
Dwyer scored seven of her 11 points on free throws, emphasizing the importance of how each attempt can mean the difference.
“I just zone everything out,” Dwyer said. “I always make the ‘swoosh’ sound in my head. So I just imagine it. And that usually gets them in.”
Making clutch free throws is nothing new for Hoeg, Reda, Dwyer or any other Tucker.
“We practice free throws all the time,” Van Dood said. “We shoot 100 every practice. In a game like this, that’s what it’s all about.”
Mattituck’s fundamentals fueled the team to its title run, and should help it in Saturday’s Southeast Regional at St. Joseph’s (L.I.).