The Huntington girls’ basketball team controls its own destiny. The Blue Devils are tied for second place in Suffolk League III with four games remaining, including a pair with teams it has to topple to win a fourth consecutive league title for the first time ever.
Huntington is 8-2 in league play and 12-4 overall. The Blue Devils are tied with Smithtown West (8-2/9-5) and trailing Copiague (9-1/11-4). Head coach Mike Kaplan and his players want to win all four games remaining in the regular season.
The Blue Devils play at Copiague on Tuesday (January 31) at 4:30 p.m. It’s an important game and as close to a “must win” as there can be if Huntington wants to be in a position to claim another league crown.
The Blue Devils will host Smithtown West next Tuesday (February 7) at 5:45 p.m. in still another crucial game. League games are also scheduled for this Thursday at home against Newfield at 5:45 p.m. and at home next Thursday against Smithtown East at 6 p.m. The team’s seniors will be honored prior to that final regular season contest.
“We’re looking to close out our fourth consecutive league championship and at this point we’re coming to the last set of league games, so it really comes down to fixing all our little mistakes and coming together,” co-captain Anna Gulizio said. “I’m just looking forward to enjoying these next couple weeks with the girls. We really do have a great thing going and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Huntington dropped games to Copiague (42-41) and Smithtown East (53-45) earlier in the season, allowing leads in both contests to evaporate. The Blue Devils defeated both Newfield (49-19) and Smithtown West (43-37) the first time through the schedule.
“We aren’t taking any game for granted,” Kaplan said. “It would be foolish to do otherwise. We know that we need to win every game if we want to accomplish our goals.”
Huntington employed a suffocating defense last Friday night to top visiting West Islip, 45-33. The Lions (5-5/9-7) took an early 11-10 lead before the Blue Devils went on a 12-6 second quarter run to grab a 22-17 halftime advantage.
Huntington put the game a little bit further out of reach by outscoring West Islip in the third quarter by a 19-9 margin. Alexandra Heuwetter’s 13 points and 10 rebounds led the Blue Devils. Katie Seccafico added 11 points and four assists.
Gulizio provided plenty of court leadership along with seven points and four assists. Co-captain Emma Petrizzi had six points and Paige Lennon and Charlotte Maggio scored four points each. Shannon Maloney pulled down eight rebounds to go with two points.
The Blue Devils have already clinched a playoff berth, but they still want to keep winning games, including the four remaining on the regular season schedule.
“Our goal every year is to become league champions so that’s our main focus right now,” Petrizzi said. “In doing so we’re also trying to get ourselves a good seed for playoffs. After league play is over we get to focus on our games team-by-team and really prepare for each game. I like those practices because I feel like we get to know each team we’re playing before we have to play them.”