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Lady Blue Devils 'Diamond' press shines bright in title game win

Huntington forward Heather Forster passes the ball out

Huntington forward Heather Forster passes the ball out from under the basket in a game against Sacred Heart. (Dec. 26, 2013) (Credit: Steven Ryan)

When Heather Forster hears Lady Blue Devils coach Mike Kaplan holler the play call from the sideline, Huntington’s forward knows it’s time to get going.

In the Lady Devils Basketball Invitational championship game Saturday at Freeport High School, Kaplan more often than not called out ‘Diamond’—Forster’s favorite formation.

“I was at the top of that,” said Forster, who at 6-1, is asked to guard the opposing team’s top ball-handler in Huntington’s 1-2-1-1 set. “I think our pressure was really good in that one. It gives us freedom and allows us to anticipate the next pass.”

Forster and Huntington’s full-court defensive pressure wreaked havoc throughout the three-day tournament and into the finals, where it defeated Division, 54-27.

“I feel like our team is very good pressing and that’s because everyone is involved,” said Forster, who was named tourney MVP after finishing with a championship game-high of 18 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and four blocks. “It was really cool to be recognized for what I did.”

Forster wasn’t alone, as Huntington’s Samantha Lynch and Katie Nugent were also named to the All-Tournament team, along with Division’s Taylor Calabrese and Laura Stuart.

In the title-game Diamond formation, Lynch called it “exciting” to be one of the Lady Blue Devils guards in the middle of the floor behind Forster.

“Our goal is to cause a certain amount of turnovers, so that we can convert in transition,” said Lynch, who had a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) with seven steals. “We want to capitalize on our speed. That’s where a lot of our points come from.”

It definitely appeared that way on the scoreboard, as the Lady Blue Devils outscored their opponents 175-90 in all three wins. Huntington (7-0) beat St. Joseph Hill, 67-37, on Friday and Sacred Heart, 54-26, on Thursday.

“I would say defensively, we really played well together,” Kaplan said. “Everything is starting to click. We’re taking teams out of what they’re doing early in the game and it’s really disrupting them.”

In the tournament’s third round games, Freeport defeated St. Joseph Hill, Our Lady of Mercy defeated Sacred Heart and Valley Stream Central defeated Calhoun.