Mike Kaplan will never forget the night he won the 100th game of his career. The Blue Devil girls’ basketball team head coach saw Huntington hold off hard charging Smithtown West in the final seconds of Tuesday night’s contest to claim a 33-30 victory and move into sole possession of second place in Suffolk League III.
Kaplan has compiled a 100-38 record since coming to Huntington in 2010. The team has reached the playoffs in all but one of his seven seasons, including two trips to the Suffolk Final Four, an appearance in the county championship game and three league titles.
Mike Kaplan was presented with a special basketball and carved wooden plaque.
“I want to thank all of my former and current players,” said Kaplan after the game. “Their dedication and commitment to the program has allowed this to happen. Basketball is a long season with a huge time commitment. All of my players have always given 150 percent on and off the court. I am grateful to be their coach. I also want thank assistant coach Marissa Bergmann, who has been with me since day one. The countless hours she has spent working with the team on and off the court has been greatly appreciated. She has been an outstanding role mode and mentor to all of these girls. I am proud to work for such a supporting school district and to have created amazing memories with my Blue Devil basketball family.”
Huntington (10-3 league; 14-5 overall) had its hands full with Smithtown West (9-4; 10-7). Louis D. Giani Gymnasium was rocked by a crowd of about 250, which got louder and louder as the score got closer and closer.
The Blue Devils won a hard fought 43-37 victory at Smithtown West earlier in the season, but with the playoffs approaching next week, Tuesday night’s contest was even more important.
If any game can be called a defensive battle it was this one. Smithtown West led 6-5 after eight minutes before Huntington rallied to take a 15-10 halftime lead. The Bulls outscored their hosts 20-18 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their deficit by the final buzzer.
Junior Alexandra Heuwetter paced the Blue Devils with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Shannon Maloney and Anna Gulizio had four points and five rebounds each. Emma Petrizzi added four points, four assists and five rebounds. Nicole Leslie scored a point from the free throw line.
Huntington will close-out the regular season at home on Friday (February 10) against Smithtown East. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. The team’s seniors will be recognized during a pre-game ceremony.
Mike Kaplan’s Coaching Record
- 2011: 9-10 - lost in the out bracket
- 2012: 7-11 - did not qualify
- 2013: 13-6 - lost in the first round
- 2014: 20-1 - lost in the semifinals, League IV Champions
- 2015: 21-1 - lost in the Class AA final, League IV Champions
- 2016: 16-4 - lost in the quarterfinals; League III Co-Champions
- 2017: 14-5 - team has qualified for playoffs
- Total: 100-38 .725%