HUNTINGTON, New York, Feb. 26
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
One of the first faces Huntington’s Samantha Lynch saw after she scored her 1000th-career high school point for the Lady Blue Devils was her own.
On Friday, six life-sized cardboard cutouts – one of Lynch and the others of the Huntington squad’s other seniors – stood on the sidelines, just a few feet away from the court, as the No. 1 Blue Devils (20-0) emerged with a 54-38 win over No. 9 Ward Melville (13-6) in the Suffolk County Class AA quarterfinals.
“We’ve had them [the cutouts] for good luck… ever since senior night,” Lynch’s teammate Heather Forster said. “It is a little weird when you bring them home [though].”
For Lynch, who came into the game with 999 career points, the six good luck charms helped her to score her 1000th point with the first basket of the game, just one minute into play.
“[That basket] got my adrenaline running,” Lynch, who scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the win, said. “We wanted to come out fast… so it was a big help with the momentum swing.”
From there, the undefeated Blue Devils never looked back going on an 11-0 run to start the game. The team never let that lead shrink to less than 10 points on the way to their second-straight playoff win. Tomorrow, Huntington is set to face No. 5 Brentwood (16-4) at Longwood High School.
On Friday, though, head coach Mike Kaplan preferred to live in the moment of Huntington’s most-recent win. He focused on the defensive mentality it’s had all season.
Huntington hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 40 points against it in the last eight times the Blue Devils have taken the court. In the last 13 games, only one team has scored more than 40 points on Huntington.
“We just feel that, if teams can’t score against us, then… we’ll be fine,” he said.
Cardboard cutouts aside, Forster was able to back Lynch up with a double-double as she chipped in 14 points and grabbed 15 boards.
“It helps a lot when you have a size advantage,” Forster, who stands at 6-foot-2, said. “Being able to get the ball with rebounds really helps the team… [but] really tonight it was just about a lot of movement and whoever ended up open got the score.”
Kathleen Nugent, a senior, added a double-double of her own with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Katie Reilly, a junior, scored 4 points and Brooke Baade added 3 points to round out Huntington’s scorers.
With the game in hand, Kaplan eventually turned his focus to the semifinal matchup. While he wasn’t yet sure who the Blue Devils would be facing, he still had some words of wisdom.
“We can’t change [our game] because of the opponent,” Kaplan said. “Basically we just have to play our game.”
Huntington defeated Brentwood 64-31 on Dec. 31 when the two met for a non-league game earlier this season. Tomorrow’s game at Longwood is scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m. and will sport a $6 admission charge.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015; A30)