BELVIDERE -- Huntley struggled mightily on offense in the first half of its regional opener against DeKalb. But in the second half, things started to fall into place -- like shots.
The top-seeded Red Raiders (20-7) made 12 of 16 field goals and 15 of 17 free throws in the second half to pull away from the Barbs and win 58-45 in the semifinals of the Class 4A Belvidere North regional.
The Red Raiders play Rockford Jefferson for the regional title at 7 p.m. Friday.
With Amanze Egekeze double-teamed and in foul trouble much of the night, Huntley's other seniors stepped up. Zach Gorney had 19 points and Riley Wicks added 14 for the Red Raiders. Egekeze still wound up with 11 points.
Egekeze picked up 2 fouls in the first 2 minutes of the second half, giving him 4 and sending him to the bench for the rest of the third quarter. One of the fouls looked as if it could have been charged to Wicks.
"We know we can score without him," said Wicks. "We played plenty of games over the summer, and did fine without him. One of the games was against DeKalb in the summer. With him out we knew we had to step up."
Huntley trailed 20-17 at halftime after hitting just 3 of 10 shots in the second quarter. But that all changed after the break. The Raiders made their first 5 shots of the third quarter while taking a 36-32 lead. The last basket of the quarter, a 3-pointer by Blake Jacobs, started a 15-4 run that put the Red Raiders firmly in control.
Huntley, which didn't attempt a free throw in the first 16 minutes, suddenly started getting free throws -- and making them.
"I think we missed 5 layups in the first half and that kind of hurt us," said Huntley coach Marty Manning. "In the second half, we continued taking it to the basket and got some opportunities at the free-throw line. We knocked our free throws down which was huge."
Jacobs and Kyle Slonka added 7 points apiece for Huntley.
Luke Davis III led DeKalb (12-18) with 19 points while Jace Kitchen added 14.