Whatever Huntley needed, the Red Raiders came up with.
Whether it was a clutch shot, a defensive stop, a key rebound, or free throws down the stretch, the Raiders did whatever needed to be done. The result was a 50-46 win against DeKalb in the semifinals of the Class 4A Belvidere North girls basketball regional Tuesday night.
Huntley (22-6), the No. 3 seed, will face the top-seeded hosts for the regional title Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Huntley will be seeking its second regional title in three years and sixth since 2003. Thursday's winner moves on to next week's Rockford East sectional to face the winner of the Rockford Auburn regional.
Ali Andrews had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the Raiders. Sam Andrews added 13 points and 6 boards, and Bethany Zornow chipped in 11 points.
Leading 47-46, Huntley turned it over. But DeKalb's Rachel Torres missed a 3-pointer and Zornow aggressively snared the rebound. Sam Andrews then made 2 free throws. After another Barb miss, Ali Andrews grabbed the rebound, got fouled, and made one free throw for the final margin.
"It was pretty awesome," said Zornow of the late rebound. "I enjoyed it."
Huntley took the lead with an 11-2 run to open the second quarter. DeKalb never led again, but the Barbs didn't go away, either. They tied the game 4 times in the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump.
"I'm so proud of our girls and the way they fought tonight," said Huntley coach Steve Raethz. "They came out and they really executed our game plan well on both ends of the floor, and they really exuded a lot of toughness tonight on both ends of the floor.
"We made plays on the offensive end, and on the defensive end as well. Whether that was coming up with a loose ball or a rebound or just a stop."
DeKalb's defense hounded the Raiders all night, but the Barbs ultimately paid a price for their aggressiveness. Huntley made 13 of 19 free throws while DeKalb shot just 4 foul shots all night, making 2.
Huntley made just 4 of its first 8 free throws, but made 9 of 11 in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Barbs. Sam Andrews made 4 of 4 and Haley Ream, who finished with 7 points, made 3 of 4 in the final period.
Torres and Brittney Patrick scored 12 points apiece to lead DeKalb.
Huntley struggled offensively early, scoring just 4 points in the first quarter. But things started to click about the time Ali Andrews took over the point. With the 6-foot-2 freshman distributing the ball, the Raiders outscored DeKalb 18-10 in the second quarter to take a 22-18 lead into the locker room.