When Jake Wagner canned a long 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining in the game, Huntley pulled within a point of Crystal Lake Central, 42-41.
It seemed like Huntley had the momentum to post a road victory, but the Red Raiders couldn't get any closer.
Outscoring Huntley 12-5 to end the game, the host Tigers outlasted the visitors 54-46 in Fox Valley Conference crossover boys basketball action Friday night.
"We could never get over the hump," said Huntley coach Marty Manning. "We got it down to a point several times, but we couldn't tie the game or take the lead. We had way too many turnovers and we had too many physical and mental breakdowns. It is a struggle right now offensively. Our decision making isn't very good. You name an offensive problem we have it right now. We are not a very good offensive team."
Clinging to a 1-point lead, the Tigers (7-1) got a big 3-pointer from DJ Thomas and 2 free throws from Brad Knoeppel for a 5-0 run and opened up a 6-point, 47-42 advantage with 1:55 left in the game. A 12-footer in the lane by Huntley's Bryce Only with 1:36 left made the score 47-44.
The Tigers iced the game at the free throw line in the final 1:12, making 9-of-11. Corban Murphy and Knoeppel made 4 each as the Tigers picked up the 8-point victory.
"We have a senior dominated, veteran team so they feel comfortable in close games down the stretch," said Central coach Rich Czeslawski. "We expect to win the close games most of the time. DJ hit a huge 3 and we made our free throws. We knew we weren't going to put Huntley away. They are too well coached and they have gamers like Wagner and Only."
Murphy led a balanced Tiger attack with 15 points while Knoeppel scored 14 and Dave Panicko chipped in with 13 as the trio combined for 42 of the Tigers' 56 points.
Wagner paced Huntley with 14 points. Only tallied 13 and Zach Gorney scored 11. Gorney also grabbed 11 rebounds with 2 blocked shots and 3 assists.