ROCKFORD -- When Harlem made its biggest run of the game, Huntley responded immediately. The Huskies outscored the Red Raiders 9-2 to open the second half. But following a timeout, the Raiders responded with a 14-2 run and never looked back, holding off the Huskies for a 46-37 win in the semifinals of the Class 4A Rockford East girls basketball sectional Tuesday night.
Huntley (24-6) will face Streamwood (22-8) for the sectional title at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner advances to next Monday's Dundee-Crown supersectional to face the winner of the Bartlett sectional, either Wheaton Warrenville South or Wheaton North. Huntley will be seeking its first sectional crown in program history.
Ali Andrews had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks, and sister Sam Andrews added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists for the Red Raiders, who have made the deepest advance into the postseason in program history.
Haley Ream grabbed 9 rebounds for Huntley.
"I have to give our kids some credit," said Huntley coach Steve Raethz. "We took a punch from them and showed some resiliency there in the third quarter with our own run."
Huntley led 7-0 and controlled the first half. After an ugly second quarter in which the teams shot a combined 3 for 23, the Raiders led 17-11.
But led by Kelli Ludwig (17 points), the Huskies (20-6) came out on fire after the break, eventually taking their only lead of the game. But Raethz called timeout to settle down his squad and the Red Raiders roared back. The Andrews sisters accounted for the first 10 points of the run, and Kayla Barreto got the last 4 from the free-throw line.
"We just talked about staying calm and weathering the storm, and trying to create a run of our own," Raethz said. "And they came out and they did that."
Huntley made 19 of 26 from the foul line for the game, including 11 of 16 in the fourth quarter. The Raiders' size advantage often frustrated the Huskies, who were forced to foul.
Using their size, the Raiders continually got the ball inside to Ali Andrews, who either scored, got fouled, or sent the ball back outside.
"They're really small, so we knew we just had to dump it down low," said Ali Andrews. "Since they doubled, we knew we had to kick it back out to get open shots."
Huntley shot just 32 percent for the game (12 for 38), but held Harlem to 30% shooting and forced 16 turnovers. The Huskies had just 7 free-throw attempts for the game, making 3. And those came in the fourth quarter after the game was decided.
After a 3-pointer by Kourtnay Borman got Harlem within36-27, Ali Andrews responded with a 3-ball of her own. Huntley then made 7 free throws down the stretch to keep the Huskies at bay.