Down by 10 to Belvidere North, 32-22 at halftime, Huntley boys basketball coach Marty Manning relayed a simple message to his team.
"We were so bad on offense and defense, said Manning. "I basically told the team that we just need to play better on both ends of the court."
The Red Raiders certainly responded to Manning's message in the second half in a positive way.
Outscoring the stunned Thunder 43-14 during the final 16 minutes, the Red Raiders were able to post an impressive 65-46 win in second round play of the Coaches vs. Cancer Thanksgiving Tournament hosted by Crystal Lake Central Friday night.
"We were almost too aggressive on defense in the first half," said Manning. "We did a good job of pressuring the ball in the second half and we didn't give them many easy shots. On offense, we knocked some down 3s and got in more of a shooting rhythm."
Trailing 36-27 with 4:55 left in the third quarter the Red Raiders, led by 8 points from Tommy Regan including a pair of 3-pointers, ended the quarter on a 12-2 run. A putback by Zach Gorney at the buzzer gave the Raiders the lead for good, 39-38, after 24 minutes.
Huntley continued its dominance to start the fourth quarter. Led by 5 points each from Regan and Jake Wagner, Huntley (2-0) started the quarter on a 16-2 run to take a 55-40 lead with 4:55 left in the game.
Regan paced the Red Raiders with 19 points, 15 in the second half. He was a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
"We knew we were sloppy on both offense and defense in the first half," said Regan. "Our defensive pressure was much better in the second half and we knocked down some shots. I got into a good flow and felt a good rhythm in the second half."
Wagner joined Regan in double digits with 17 points including a pair of bombs from beyond the arc. He also made 7 of 8 from the free throw line, including 4 of 4 in the fourth quarter.
For the game, the Red Raiders knocked down 18 of 19 from the stripe for 95 percent.
"I like the way we have made our free throws in the first two games," said Manning. "We did a nice job tonight in making free throws in the fourth quarter."
Devan Glenn was the lone Belvidere North player in double figures with 11 points.