Huntley girls basketball coach Steve Raethz was looking for a few defensive stops.
He got a lot more than that.
The Red Raiders (12-1) went on an 11-0 run over the final 3 minutes and 3 seconds to snap a 36-36 deadlock en route to a 47-36 victory over Geneva (8-3) in Monday night's opening round of the 5th annual Montini Catholic Christmas Tournament in Lombard.
"I thought we really hunkered down for stretches in the second half and got consecutive stops which was what we needed," said Raethz. "There were too many times in the first half and into the third quarter where we were trading baskets. We're not that kind of team.
"We wanted to maximize possessions offensively and get stops on the defensive end. I was really proud of the way our girls came out and did that in the fourth quarter."
Senior forward Samantha Andrews found sophomore forward Ali Andrews (9 points, 8 rebounds) underneath for a layup that put the Red Raiders on top for good at 38-36 with 3:03 remaining.
"We feed off each other and know how each other plays," Samantha Andrews said of playing alongside her younger sister.
The elder Andrews scored a game-high 24 points and pulled down 8 rebounds as the Red Raiders moved into Thursday night's quarterfinals against defending Class 4A state champion Marian Catholic.
"I thought that Sam Andrews really carried the load for us in the first half," said Raethz, whose team fell behind 24-20 at the intermission. "She had a nice overall game for us."
Samantha Andrews scored 10 of her 13 first-half points in the second quarter when the Vikings outscored the Red Raiders 17-12.
Down the stretch, the Red Raiders were downright stingy as they allowed just 4 fourth-quarter points.
"It came down to getting stops and playing simple team defense," said Samantha Andrews. "We definitely like a half-court, defensive-minded game. We like to plug up the gaps, help each other out, talk and get after it."
The start of the game was as slow as the finish for the Vikings.
It took more than 4 minutes for Geneva to get on the board, as freshman Grace Loberg finally snapped the dry spell with a layup off a feed from senior Sidney Santos.
"We had so many opportunities in the first quarter," said Vikings coach Sarah Meadows, whose team misfired on 12 of its 15 first-quarter shots. "Honestly, I thought we'd be up by seven or something. There were so many shots that didn't fall."
Geneva, which was limited to 12 second-half points, made just 1 of 9 field-goal attempts in the futile fourth quarter.
"Two of the points are mine -- I clearly can't say anything," said Meadows, who received a technical foul with 1:01 remaining and her team trailing 40-36.
"I remember there were two key possessions," added the coach. "Two of our players bumped into each other and they picked up the loose ball and put it in. Then number 10 (Kayla Barreto) hits the side of the backboard but somebody (Zobott) gets that rebound and gets a layup.
"There's four points right there that didn't go our way."
Playing in her third varsity game since moving up from the JV squad, the 6-2 Loberg recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"Grace has been our leading scorer the last three games," said Meadows. "It's hard not to play a kid when she's clearly the one scoring for us. She's doing a great job. We wanted to see her in a couple of JV games and she was dominating there so it was time."
Abby Novak had 10 points and 4 rebounds, while Santos chipped in with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocked shots and assists for the Vikings, who once again were without the services of senior guard Michaela Loebel (knee).
"She had an MRI and it's not re-torn," Meadows said of Loebel, who missed the 2012 campaign with a torn ACL. "We're just taking our time with her."