Blue Devils Scorch Tigers in Quarterfinals

HUNTINGTON, New York, February 20

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Amid the snow and ice, the undefeated Blue Devils turned up the heat on the basketball court on Tuesday, ousting Northport from the Suffolk AA playoff bracket by topping the Lady Tigers 49-31.

The Huntington varsity girls basketball team’s fast-paced offense and swarming defense proved too much for Northport to handle on Tuesday, with Huntington leading Northport by 16 at the half.

Huntington’s lead never fell below double-digits for the remainder of the game. Coach Michael Kaplan credited his team’s ability to stick to the game plan in the winning effort.

“Because of our depth, we’re able to tire teams out. Our philosphy all season has been to play as a team… Tonight we pressed for a majority of the game and I think that was the key,” Kaplan said.

A crowd of over 500 people filled the Louis D. Giani Gymnasium to watch Huntington (20-0) clinch the quarterfinal win to advance in the county post-season tournament.

Against Northport, 6’2″ junior forward Heather Forster dominated the paint, leading all scorers with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Junior forward Samantha Lynch added 10 points for the Blue Devils, while junior guard Kate Nugent scored 8 points with 6 assists and senior forward Joeleen Ceide put up 6 points and had 12 rebounds.

After the game, the Blue Devils revealed that the Huntington coaches challenged them to hold Northport to 35 points or less.

“We feel great to have kept them to 31 points. They played hard and played a clean game. We have a lot of respect for them,” Forster said.

In an emotional moment, following the loss, Northport coach Rich Castellano said that while his team put up a good fight, Huntington’s defensive push was commendable.

“Sometimes good teams lose games, and today we were outplayed,” the Northport coach said. “For them to hold us to 31 points, when we average 51.6, it means they’re playing good defense.”

Huntington moves on to face Sachem East in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals. The game is scheduled for Friday at Smithtown High School East at 5:30 p.m. There will be a $6 admission fee.

Originally published: The Long Islander (Thursday, February 20, 2014;  pg. A28)

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