The Huntington High School boys’ basketball team is looking toward the future. The Blue Devils kept their collective heads up this past winter, missing by a playoff berth by one game.
Coached by Brian Carey and Kevin Thorbourne, the 13-player squad compiled a 6-8 record in league play and went 7-13 overall. Huntington was hampered during much of the season by having to go without the services of key starting guard Nat Amato, who was injured early in the year. The teenager returned for the final two games on the schedule and the Blue Devils won both.
Huntington lost several close games, including contests to Kings Park (57-53), Northport (43-41), Newfield (48-43) and Copiague (61-59). If the Blue Devils had won one more league game they would have qualified for post-season play.
Seniors Michael Abbondandelo, Nat Amato, Gerard Federici, Ryan Gorecki, Mekhi Harvey, Nick Inman and Brendan Simpson and team manager Tyler Gerbavsits are all graduating in June. Underclassmen Freddie Amato, Jonah Anastos, Ian Ardell, Matthew Girimonti, Chad Rowe and John Tucker will all be returning. Many players from the JV team that went 10-4 in league play are also expected to get the call up to the varsity.
Abbondandelo and Harvey garnered All-League honors. Federici was named Academic All-County for his strong play on the court and exceptional academic performance. The trio will pick-up their awards on April 11 at the Suffolk Boys’ Basketball Coaches Assn. annual dinner at the Polish Hall in Riverhead.
Abbondandelo averaged 6.5 points and 6.7 assists per game. A top defender, he led the Blue Devils in minutes played.
Federici was a team leader on and off the court. He averaged seven points per game. Harvey had a team high 12 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
A three year varsity player, Inman played out of position as the team’s center and pulled down six rebounds per game, the second most for the Blue Devils.
“All four of these players over their combined 11 varsity seasons were above all else solid teammates and competitors who represented Blue Devil basketball with character and pride, be it a practice, a win or a loss,” Carey said. “Highly coachable and genuinely good kids!”
Huntington had several powerful opponents in its league, including Suffolk Class AA champion Hills East. “We never gave in or gave up, despite some bad losses,” Carey said. “Everyone took pride in finishing the season strong.”
The Blue Devils won four of their last five games. “Nat Amato returned to the team in the last two games after missing 15 games due to an injury,” Carey said. “His experience, athleticism and skill level was certainly missed during that time, changing the dynamics of the team. His presence would have made a considerable difference in our overall record and ability to make the playoffs.”
With the junior varsity team coming off its most successful season in seven years, Carey is looking forward to assembling a 2018/19 roster comprised of six returning varsity players and the JV’s best.