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Grayslake North used its pressure defense to take its first lead midway through the second quarter Friday night against visiting Huntley.
But the Red Raiders’ Ali and Sam Andrews put an inordinate amount of pressure on almost every defense that is geared up to stop them.
They combined to wipe out their only deficit with a 12-point run. They scored all 40 of their team’s points through three quarters and led the Red Raiders to a 56-45 victory in a regular-season ending matchup of Fox Valley Conference girls basketball division champions.
“We knew they were going to come at us hard, but we had to play our game and play really hard to get ready for the playoffs,” 6-foot-2 sophomore Ali Andrews said after getting 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots for the FVC Valley champs.
“This was a great team to play with their full-court pressure,” 6-foot senior Sam Andrews said after scoring 20 points with 3 3-pointers, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. “It shows what we need to work on and it was definitely a great game to get ready for the playoffs.”
Last year’s fourth-place state finisher in Class 4A hit its last 13 free throws, shot 54.3 percent from the field (19-for-35) and had a 32-22 rebound advantage in its 12th straight victory. Ali Andrews single-handedly shot Huntley (24-3) to an 11-2 lead after just 3:41.
“(She) was unstoppable in the first quarter,” said Grayslake North coach Nate Flannery. “Our pressure kept us in it for awhile, but they’re just a great team. Two players like that are tough to stop.”
But the Knights (20-9), who had won eight in a row to repeat as FVC Fox champs, have their own tough duo in seniors Kendall Detweiler (16 points on 7-for-15 shooting) and Brittney Thibeaux (12 points, 5 rebounds). Thibeaux’s 3 and Detweiler’s baseline drive gave them a 20-19 lead 3:20 before halftime.
“Our defense has been solid the past few games,” Detweiler said. “They’re a really good team and I thought we competed with them very well.”
Ali Andrews found Sam in transition for a baseline jumper to start a 12-0 run. Sam returned the favor to Ali for a layup to complete it for a 31-20 lead 1:30 after intermission.
“I thought we played really good defense the first four minutes,” Ali Andrews said.
“Then we kind of let down a little bit,” Sam said. “But we came back and came together as a team and played defense the way we know how.”
Huntley senior Bethany Zornow limited Detweiler to 2 points in the third quarter. Grayslake North shot just 29.3 percent from the field (17-for-58) and 6-for-21 on 3s.
Freshman Morgan Clausen was first player other than the Andrews sisters to score for the Red Raiders on a layup off a Sam Andrews feed 23 seconds into the fourth quarter. They led by as many as 16 points but also committed 11 of their 21 turnovers in the final six minutes.
“It wasn’t pretty at times but I have to give our kids credit,” said Huntley coach Steve Raethz. “In certain segments I thought we did a great job defensively and a pretty good job on their two scorers. But we have to clean some things up offensively.”
Freshman Sidney Lovitsch had 9 points and 3 assists and junior Maggie Fish added 8 points for Grayslake North.
“I’m proud of our kids for competing the way they did,” Flannery said. “Brittney did an outstanding job against a really good player (Ali Andrews) and Kendall is always solid for us.”