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Sam Lynch scores 28 points as defense-minded Huntington beats Kings Park

Huntington's Samantha Lynch drives to the basket during

Huntington's Samantha Lynch drives to the basket during the first quarter of a Suffolk IV game against host Kings Park on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Credit: James Escher

Just call her Second-Half Sam.

Sam Lynch scored 19 of her 28 points in the second half as Huntington pulled away from host Kings Park for a 65-47 girls basketball victory Monday night in a Suffolk IV matchup.

"We are a second-half team," said Lynch, who scored 11 points in the third quarter. "I was a little flustered in the first half but my teammates helped me out."

Team defense created many of Lynch's scoring opportunities as Huntington (3-0 overall, 1-0 league) forced 20 turnovers with a pressing, trapping style that eventually wore down Kings Park (2-1, 1-1).

"We take pride in our defense. It will keep us in a game when we aren't shooting well," Huntington coach Mike Kaplan said. "We were excellent tonight. By the third quarter, our conditioning and depth, and the speed that we play at, wore them down."

Huntington's style suits Lynch's game. "She's a tough matchup because of her speed, athleticism and size," Kaplan said of the 5-9 Lynch, who can play guard or forward. "After we make steals, we look for Sam. She's excellent in transition and is an excellent free-throw shooter."

Lynch made 7 of 9 from the line and was aggressive all night in taking it to the basket. In the third quarter, Lynch scored on a layup off an inbounds play, finished in transition after a steal and converted an offensive rebound. She also was in the middle of things when Huntington's defense created havoc.

The Blue Devils held high-scoring center Emily Stephens to two points in the second half, none in the game-breaking third quarter, when she rarely touched the ball. Stephens scored 16 first-half points as Kings Park kept it reasonably close before caving in to Huntington's pressure.

"Defense is the strongest part of our game," Lynch said. "We play high-pressure, aggressive defense the whole game. We condition a lot in practice. We watch their shoulders and then anticipate the next pass."

Lynch said it's also comforting to have 6-2 center Heather Forster as the last line of that defense. "We know if we get beat, Heather is back there,'' she said. "She's a big part of our success."

Forster had 12 points and Brooke Baade came off the bench to score 15 points, including three three-pointers.

"Our goal is to play at a fast pace and make it sloppy for our opponents," Kaplan said.

Which made for a neat victory Monday night.

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