The Huntington girls’ basketball team got knocked out of the Suffolk Class AA playoffs on Thursday and as far as head coach Michael Kaplan is concerned the 2017/18 season started the next day.
“You can never look back,” Kaplan said. “We’re sad to be losing five great players to graduation, but now it’s time for the underclassmen to step up and continue our tradition.”
The Blue Devils will be graduating seniors Anna Gulizio, Shannon Maloney, Torre Palmer, Emma Petrizzi and Tara Wilson. “They gave us everything they had,” Kaplan said. “I certainly couldn’t ask for anything more from them. They were all hard workers and good teammates. They will always be a part of our program and always welcome around the team.”
Huntington finished second in the Suffolk League III standings with a 10-4 mark. The Blue Devils compiled an overall record of 14-7.
Huntington is 71-13 over the past four years. The Blue Devils had their streak of three consecutive league titles snapped this winter. Kaplan hopes to start a new run of titles next season.
Alexandra Heuwetter has the ball for Huntington. (Darin Reed photo.)
“There is always a lot of work to do and putting together a winning team for next season will take effort from the coaches and players,” Kaplan said. Huntington is expected to remain in League III and once again face Copiague, Smithtown West, Smithtown East, West Islip, North Babylon, Centereach and Newfield in home and away league games. The Blue Devils will also play six non-league contests for 20 regular season games in all.
Huntington will look to Alexandra Heuwetter and Katie Seccafico as its key returnees off this year’s team. Current junior Nicole Leslie is also coming back along with sophomore Paige Lennon, freshmen Megan Byrnes and Abby Maichin and eighth graders Jordan Forte and Charlotte Maggio.
Several players from this year’s junior varsity team are also expected to get called up to the Blue Devil varsity next winter. The squad will play in both summer and fall leagues.
“We will head into next season expecting to compete for the league championship, just like we always do,” Kaplan said.