There was too much at stake for Huntley to let a rough week slide by quietly.
The Red Raiders didn't see a major drop-off in their play as they lost three straight games. But their shrinking Fox Valley Conference Valley Division boys basketball lead raised enough concern to lead to a players-only meeting after Saturday night's loss at Prairie Ridge.
They came out Tuesday night looking to avoid their longest overall and league losing streaks in four years. The FVC Valley leaders did so in impressive fashion with a 53-33 victory over visiting McHenry.
"We felt like we weren't in the same flow and we weren't playing the same way," said Huntley senior point guard Kyle Slonka, who scored all 9 of his points in the first half on 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. "We talked about what we were doing wrong and what we were doing OK to get back on track after a tough three-game stretch."
Amanze Egekeze (14 points) and Zach Gorney (13 points) had 7 rebounds apiece and Riley Wicks added 9 points and 4 assists as Huntley (16-7, 8-2) also bounced back from consecutive FVC Valley losses.
Blake Jacobs also had 3 assists as the Red Raiders shot 56 percent (19-for-34) from the field through three quarters and led 50-25 with 3:57 left. Now they can claim their fourth straight division crown outright with a win at 7 p.m. Friday at Jacobs (13-12, 7-3), which won 47-31 over Cary-Grove (15-10, 7-4) on Tuesday.
"I definitely think Prairie Ridge made us shoot from outside a little more," said Huntley coach Marty Manning, whose team was 6-for-30 on 3s Saturday. "We were able to get it inside, but McHenry doesn't have the size Prairie Ridge does and we were able to exploit that a little bit."
McHenry (10-12, 3-7) tried 2-1-2 and 1-3-1 zones to combat the mismatches with the 6-foot-8 Egekeze and 6-4 Gorney. But consecutive 3s by Slonka off feeds from Wicks and Egekeze gave Huntley a 28-14 lead 2:52 before halftime.
"Any time he's open we think it's a pretty good shot from outside the 3-point line," Manning said of the 45 percent long-range shooter.
"We know one through five we can shoot the ball and we can all shoot it well," Slonka said. "We focus on getting it inside first to Amanze and Zach, and once they start collapsing, it opens up shots for all of us and we have to take advantage when it comes."
McHenry made 5 of its first 10 shots but finished at just 30.6 percent from the field (11-for-36) and was outrebounded 29-19. Kyle Postal had a team-high 8 points and two 3s.
"We'll go three or four minutes without scoring, and especially against good teams, it's not going to work out well," said McHenry coach Tim Paddock. "When we don't have a lot of consistent scoring on the inside it makes it difficult."
Gorney made all four of his third-quarter shots and Huntley went 8-for-10 to help erase the sting of a stretch that included an overtime loss to unbeaten Fremd and a 3-point loss at Cary-Grove.
"They wanted to get back to having fun," Manning said, "but the only thing that's really fun is winning."