Mattituck hasn’t played Southold in four years so when they matched up Wednesday night at Southold High School, it felt like every bit the rivalry it should be with two teams so close together on the map.
“These are all local kids, they all know each other,” Southold head coach Phil Reed said. “We’d love to keep this tradition alive. It’s good to have that little rivalry going on.”
From the tip, the difference between two teams separated by just one league was obvious. Mattituck, a League VII team, seemed to have more shooters to rely on and spread the ball around to the open shooter whereas Southold (League VIII) tried to get the ball into Liam Walker’s hands at all times.
The final result favored the better philosophy as Mattituck (3-0) routed Southold (0-1) 67-48 in a non-league game.
Every time the Settlers tried to cut the lead, Mattituck had an answer — usually in the form of a three-point basket.
“The defense has to get better,” Reed said. “Mattituck shot the lights out today.”
Will Gildersleeve led the way for the Tuckers, scoring a game-high 20 points as he connected on five three-pointers.
“He led the league in three-point baskets last year along with Chris Dwyer,” Mattituck head coach Paul Ellwood said. “We expect him to have a big year this year.”
Southold’s Liam Walker scored 22 points but didn’t seem to have the help necessary to overtake an aggressive Mattituck defense and bring the game to within reach. Greg Gehring was the only player to score more than six points for the Settlers with nine.
“We only have one player and they had six,” Reed said. “Liam’s our guy. Our offense goes as he goes. We have to go back to the drawing board and try to get others involved.”
Ryan Mowdy and Joe Tardiff both chipped in 13 points for the Tuckers. Mowdy also pulled in eight rebounds and Tardiff had five assists to go along with his point total.
“We have a lot of guys scoring which is always a positive,” Ellwood said. “Last game we had four guys in double figures. We share the ball and make our opponent defend everyone. There aren’t too many high school teams that you have to defend all five guys on the court. So we spread our guys out and get a lot of chances.”
In the third quarter, Southold had cut the lead from 20 points down to 13 and before you knew it, Mattituck was ahead by a large margin again.
“We’re a team that can just bang four three-pointers in a row and make it a blowout quick,” Ellwood said.
But nevertheless, Ellwood had nothing but praise for Southold and thought they held their own throughout the game.
“I think Southold’s going to be a good team,” Ellwood said. “That was their first game and this was our third game and that’s a huge advantage. I think you improve the most between your first game and your second game. I think if we played them again it would be a lot closer.”
Mattituck plays Southampton Friday in Mattituck at 5:45 p.m. Southold returns to action on Friday in Southold against Smithtown Christain at 6:15 p.m.
SoutholdLOCAL photo by Emil Breitenbach, Jr.