The Huntington boys’ basketball team turned in what just might have been its finest performance of the year in the final game of the season, edging visiting Copiague on Senior Day in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium late last week, 56-53.
The Blue Devils played good offense and defense throughout the 32 minute long affair. Huntington trailed 17-15 after the first quarter, but tied the game by halftime, 26-26.
A 17-10 third quarter run gave the Blue Devils a 43-36 lead entering the final eight minutes of play and Huntington would need every single on those seven points to withstand a late charge.
As Copiague battled back over the final minutes, both teams called repeated timeouts to regroup. During the breaks, music blared over the gym’s public address system and many fans among what was the biggest home game crowd of the year, stood and danced in the bleachers. Later the two sides engaged in a cheer off.
Copiague had a chance to tie the score in the final seconds, but the shot missed its mark. Mekhi Harvey led Huntington with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Nick Inman scored 12 points and pulled won 11 rebounds. Nat Amato had 10 points and Mike Abbondandelo added eight points. Gerard Federici scored seven points. Ian Ardell had two points and Ryan Gorecki added a point from the free throw line.
Despite losing, Copiague qualified for the playoffs with a 7-7 mark in Suffolk League III while Huntington fell just short at 6-8 in league play. The team finished 7-13 overall.
The Blue Devils went 15 games without Amato this season after he injured his ankle early in the season. The talented guard returned in the final week and helped lead the team notch back to back victories over Centereach and Copiague. With Amato in the lineup, Huntington went 3-2 and without him the squad was 4-11.
Seniors Honored Prior to Game
Huntington’s eight seniors were honored during a pre-game ceremony. Players Michael Abbondandelo, Nat Amato, Gerard Federici, Ryan Gorecki, Mekhi Harvey, Nick Inman and Brendan Simpson and team manager Tyler Gerbavsits were all recognized.
The teenagers presented flowers to their respective mother and then posed on the court with their parents for individual and group photos. Each of the seniors was given a team blanket with their name and number embossed on it.
“These are kids who practiced and played hard for us and represented our high school and community very well,” Huntington head coach Brian Carey said. “They are a credit to themselves and to everyone who has played a role in their development over the years. We’ve been honored to have them wear our uniform and we will always remember their contributions to the Blue Devil basketball program.”