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Class 4A state semifinal
When: 6:30 p.m. today at Redbird Arena, Normal
How they got here: Huntley beat DeKalb 50-46 and Belvidere North 60-41 to win the Belvidere North regional then defeated Harlem 46-37 in the sectional semifinals and Streamwood 45-41 in the sectional finals and then downed Wheaton Warrenville South 47-43 in the Dundee-Crown supersectional. Rolling Meadows won the Mundelein regional by defeating Lake Forest 81-25 and Hersey 53-37, then downed Stevenson 58-47 and Fremd 59-50 to win the Libertyville sectional. The Mustangs then rolled over Evanston 54-31 to win the Niles West supersectional.
Kayla Barreto 5-2 Fr. 2.8 ppg
Haley Ream 6-0 Sr. 5.9
Bethany Zornow 5-9 Jr. 5.1
Sam Andrews 6-0 Jr. 16.1
Ali Andrews 6-2 Fr. 16.0
Jackie Kemph 5-6 Jr. 19.6 ppg
Alexis Glasgow 5-11 Jr. 17.0
Jenny Vliet 6-2 Jr. 10.0
Ashley Montanez 6-1 Jr. 6.8
Sami Kay 5-5 Jr. 10.0
Scouting report: Two state finals newcomers meet in the first semifinal tonight and they bring very contrasting styles to Redbird Arena. Huntley thrives on defense, while Rolling Meadows would prefer to turn basketball games into track meets.
The most telling stat of the differing styles is this: Huntley allows 40 points per game and hasn't given up more than 46 in the playoffs, while Meadows has only scored under 46 once this season, that in a 52-43 loss to Class 3A No. 1 Montini.
"They're a very athletic team that can score from a lot of different spots," said Huntley coach Steve Raethz of the Mustangs. "Glasgow and Kemph are very impressive players. We've got our work cut out for us on defense. We have to avoid their conversion baskets. They like the up-tempo game and they're just a fantastic basketball team."
The Red Raiders, who were a No. 3 regional seed, will look to the scoring duo of the Andrews sisters, as always, but Ream and Zornow have stepped up their scoring in the postseason to give the team some balance. But Raethz stresses Meadows is not a team his squad wants to try to beat up and down the floor.
"We don't want to get into a running game with this team," said Raethz, now 219-183 in his 14th season at Huntley. "They score in bunches. We have top limit their runs and their fastbreak opportunities. I don't think we've faced a team that has such solid perimeter depth. They're so solid at all five spots and that makes it hard to guard them. We just have to stay within ourselves and play our game defensively. That's been our calling card in the postseason."
The Andrews sisters will also step outside the paint. Sam Andrews has 51 3-pointers this season and Ali Andrews 16. Off the bench, senior Amanda Kaniewski has made 13 3-pointers.
While Huntley has only one senior (Ream) in the starting lineup, Meadows has an all junior starting cast that doesn't just score, but is big and rebounds well also. Vliet leads the team at 8.3 rpg. Kemph is the assists leader while Glasgow, who is committed to Northwestern, has made 87 3-pointers this season and shoots 34 percent from beyond the arc. She qualified for the Class 4A finals in the 3-point showdown Thursday night by making 9 of 15.
Glasgow knows Huntley's Andrews sisters well -- the three play on the same Midwest Elite AAU team.
"They're both really nice girls," said Glasgow. "I'm definitely excited to see them again and compete against them in a state semifinal."
The only Class 4A team that has defeated Meadows this season is Mid-Suburban champion Fremd, which won the West division with an 8-2 record.
Huntley played four teams in the MSL West this season. The Red Raiders split with Conant (won 43-39 and lost 35-33), defeated Hoffman Estates (54-43) and Palatine (46-28) and lost to Barrington 39-33. Meadows' other loss is to undefeated Class 3A power Quincy Notre Dame, 87-82 in overtime at QND on Feb. 2.
"We know Huntley has a lot of talent," said Kemph, an all-state guard and two-time MSL East Player of the Year. "They have good posts and play real good defense."
Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky, 91-54 in his fifth year as Mustangs' head coach, has heard plenty of the Andrews sisters.
"Our first priority is slowing them down," he said. "They don't appear to be standard post players. They will post up but they also can hit 3-pointers, handle the ball and attack the basket.
"Their other kids are aggressive, too. Offensively, they share the basketball. They are fundamentally sound on defense and seem to be playing with a lot of confidence."
The Mustangs are a confident team as well. They are coming off their top defensive effort of the season, holding Evanston to a season-low point total in a 54-31 victory at the Niles West supersectional.