Jacobs' defense locks down Huntley

  • Jacobs' Ajani Rodriguez goes to the hoop Wednesday during Huntley at Jacobs boys basketball in Algonquin.

      Jacobs' Ajani Rodriguez goes to the hoop Wednesday during Huntley at Jacobs boys basketball in Algonquin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jacobs' Nikolas Balkcom battles Huntley's Cory Knipp Wednesday during basketball in Algonquin.

      Jacobs' Nikolas Balkcom battles Huntley's Cory Knipp Wednesday during basketball in Algonquin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jacob's Ajani Rodriguez tries to get around Huntley's Uchenna Egekeze Wednesday during boys basketball in Algonquin.

      Jacob's Ajani Rodriguez tries to get around Huntley's Uchenna Egekeze Wednesday during boys basketball in Algonquin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jacobs' Ryan Phillips is called for a charge after running through Huntley's Cory Knipp Wednesday during boys basketball in Algonquin.

      Jacobs' Ryan Phillips is called for a charge after running through Huntley's Cory Knipp Wednesday during boys basketball in Algonquin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Huntley's Cory Knipp shoots over Jacobs' Nikolas Balkcom Wednesday during boys basketball in Algonquin.

      Huntley's Cory Knipp shoots over Jacobs' Nikolas Balkcom Wednesday during boys basketball in Algonquin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/13/2017 10:36 PM

A 52-37 victory was just a matter of a few made shots considering how well the Jacobs boys basketball team played defense against visiting Huntley on Wednesday.

The Golden Eagles sank only 3 of 13 first-quarter attempts in the Fox Valley Conference matchup, 1 of 7 from 3-point range. Nevertheless, they managed to build a 9-5 lead over the Red Raiders, who attempted only 8 shots and made 2.

 

That trend continued for Huntley (1-6, 0-3), which shot 39 percent from the field (14 of 36) against an aggressive man-to-man defense.

Meanwhile, Jacobs discovered its shooting touch in the second quarter against the Huntley zone. The Golden Eagles drilled 5 of 7 attempts from 3-point range. Senior guard Kameron Mack sank two 3-pointers after cross-court assists from senior guard Nik Balkcom, and Ryan Phillips sank a pair from beyond the arc as Jacobs outscored Huntley 19-7 to take a 28-12 halftime lead.

"We're confident in ourselves," said Balkcom, who sank a 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer. "We already know our defense is going to be there, so once we start hitting shots we already know we're going to win."

Jacobs (6-2, 3-0) held Huntley to 7 points in the second quarter and 8 in the third. It was the sixth time in seven games the Red Raiders have scored 46 points or less.

"We got them to take some shots that were somewhat contested and they missed some shots," Huntley coach Will Benson said, "but at the end of the first half it went from 10 to 17 in a heartbeat. Even when we got some stops in the third quarter when we went to man to get the tempo up a little bit, we got enough stops. We just couldn't score on the other end."

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Jacobs' defense was largely responsible for that. Huntley's perimeter players had trouble finding open space against Mack (6-foot-5), Phillips (6-5) and Balkcom (6-3), not to mention pesky 5-9 guard Ajani Rodriguez.

"We were just trying be disruptive as possible on defense, just really try to get up and pressure, give them no space to operate," Mack said. "We know they run that fluid five-out offense, so our strategy was to keep them on one side, not let them get downhill and penetrate our defense. I thought we did a good job of that, just being solid."

Mack led all scorers with 15 points to go with 4 rebounds. Phillips had 12 points and made 3 of 8 shots from 3-point range, and senior forward Daniel Murray contributed 10 points.

Sophomore Ryan Sroka scored 10 points off the bench for Huntley, while senior guard Cory Knipp added 9 points and senior Brett Bidgen scored 8 points.

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