The Blue Devils special seven with coaches Kevin Thorbourne and Peter Lipka. (Darin Reed photo.)
The Blue Devils special seven with coaches Kevin Thorbourne and Peter Lipka. (Darin Reed photo.)

Blue Devils Win Thriller on Senior Night

January 29, 2024

A big crowd turned out last Friday evening for the Huntington High School boys’ varsity basketball team’s Senior Night game against visiting Centereach. The Blue Devils won a thriller, 69-58.

Seniors Dillanger Albert, Harrison Baliber, Jayson Colato, Thomas Girimonti, Daniel McNulty, Eli Soric and Gradon Sosnowski were honored during a pre-game ceremony that saw head coach Peter Lipka wax poetic about each of the players. The players were met on the court by the parents and siblings for a series of commemorative photos.

Huntington junior Liva Camarata lived up to her billing as a singing star with an incredible rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” that brought the house down. A group of young players from the district played a 10 minute game during halftime, adding to the festivities.

Every senior played in the game and gave Huntington everything they had. The squad has generally played well and exceeded pre-season expectations. Several of the those came in games in which the Blue Devils held a lead.

Against Centereach, senior Thomas Girimonti and junior Jordan Thorbourne both turned in their best performances of the season with Girimonti dropping a game high 24 points and Thorbourne adding 20 points.

“Having the opportunity to wear a Huntington basketball uniform has been awesome,” Girimonti said. “It has left me with countless memories that I will cherish forever and it feels great to represent my community on the court.”

The two teams battled to a 14-14 draw over the opening eight minutes before Huntington went on a 20-12 run in the second quarter to take a 34-26 lead. The Blue Devils extended their advantage in the third quarter by outscoring Centereach, 18-12.

Dan McNulty played well, scoring 14 points. Justin D’Eloia had five points and Harry Baliber scored four points, including a three-point basket. Gradon Sosnowski had two points.

“Wearing a Huntington basketball uniform has meant a lot to me,” McNulty said. “Growing up, I may have taken for granted what it means to have the word ‘Huntington’ across my chest, but as my time here begins to come to an end, and we are in the back end of the season, I know that I’ll truly cherish these last times of wearing my Huntington basketball uniform.”

Baliber handled and distributed the ball well and made things happen. “It’s been great playing for Huntington,” the teenager said. “I’m very thankful for all the experiences I’ve had and all the coaches and players I’ve met along the way.”

It was an emotional night for the seniors and their families. “Putting on the Huntington basketball uniform has been a big source of pride for me,” Eli Soric said. “It has meant a lot to me as basketball has always been such an important part of my life.”

Every player on the roster has contributed to the Blue Devil cause in one way or the other this winter and the seniors have all worn their uniforms with pride. “Wearing this jersey has allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Jayson Colato said. “All the lessons I’ve been taught throughout my experience with it means everything to me.”

For senior Dillanger Albert, wearing Huntington’s colors “has meant being able to play the sport I love with a great community of players and coaches.” The sentiment is clearly shared by his teammates.

Players, parents and coaches headed toward the cafeteria following the game to enjoy a Senior Day party. The seniors know there will only be a few more opportunities to wear a Huntington basketball jersey and they plan to savor each one of them.

“It means a lot to me and it’s an honor when I put a Huntington basketball jersey on,” Gradon Sosnowski said. “The basketball team is like my second family. I love these guys and the coaches.”

Dan McNulty is chased by three defenders last Friday night. (Darin Reed photo.)