Huntley senior guard Bethany Zornow scored only 3 points, but without her smothering defense on Cary-Grove scoring machine Katie Barker the Red Raiders could have been in trouble.
Zornow held Barker to 11 points, 9 under her average as the Red Raiders were able to post a 48-38 win over Cary-Grove in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division girls basketball action in Cary Friday night.
The win moved Huntley (17-3, 7-0) a step closer to its first FVC Valley title and only the second conference title in program history. The loss, meanwhile, all but eliminated four-time defending Valley champ Cary-Grove (12-8, 3-4) from title contention.
"Bethany is an outstanding defensive player and she did a great job on Katie Barker tonight," said Huntley coach Steve Raethz. "Katie is so tough to defend because she has a variety of shots and she can score from anywhere on the court. Bethany was the main defender on Barker but we gave her a lot of help."
With Zornow hounding her all night, Barker only made 3-of-12 shots from the field including 1-of-5 from 3-point range.
"I loved the challenge of guarding somebody as good as Katie Barker," said Zornow. "I knew I had to stay in front of her and make sure she took tough shots. It was a lot of fun tonight."
Cary-Grove set the tempo in first half utilizing a methodical offense while running off clock.
Frustrating the more talented Red Raiders, the Trojans led 19-16 at halftime.
Whatever Raethz said to his squad at halftime worked.
With Kayla Barreto canning a pair of 3-pointers and Ali Andrews scoring a pair of baskets inside the Red Raiders went on 15-3 run to start the third quarter, turning a 3-point deficit into a 9-point 31-22 lead with 1:22 left in the third quarter.
"I told our team at halftime we needed to be more patient on offense and we needed move more," said Raethz. "We stood around too much. We came out in the third quarter, moved the ball well and got good shots and easy shots. Kayla Baretto's two 3s were huge."
Huntley sealed the win in the last 2 minutes, connecting on 9-of-10 free throws. Samantha Andrews made 5-of-6 from the line while Ali Andrews was a perfect 4-of-4.
Ali Andrews paced the Raiders with 18 points while Samantha Andrews scored 13 including 11-of-15 from the line.
"We played hard, but the two single digit quarters in the first and third quarters really hurt us," said Cary-Grove coach Rod Saffert. "We have to slow things down because we just don't have the offensive firepower."