Huntley's hot 3-point shooting sinks Hampshire
Led by Uchenna Egekeze's 21 points and his teammates' 3-point shooting, Huntley rallied from a 17-6 first quarter deficit to beat Hampshire 62-45 in Fox Valley Conference action Friday night.
Eleven of Huntley's 24 baskets were 3-pointers. Egekeze canned 10 of the 13 2-point shots.
The host Red Raiders' control of the boards also contributed to the turnaround. Huntley outrebounded Hampshire 33-22 including 15 offensive boards. Egekeze pulled down eight.
"His energy and activity level for the first half was as good as I have ever seen it," Huntley coach Will Benson said. "He was unbelievable. He had a bunch of steals too. He really kept us in it."
Egekeze scored the first two points of the game on a putback, but after that it was all Hampshire in the period as the Whip-Purs went on an 11-0 run to take an 11-2 lead with 1:30 left in the stanza. Ryan Sroka (13 points) broke the Red Raiders' scoring drought with 1:12 left in quarter.
Huntley (24-6, 15-2) connected on only three of 13 shots and committed four turnovers in the first eight minutes.
"We shot poorly (in the first quarter.) We got some decent looks but the problem was that was affecting our decision making," said Huntley coach Will Benson. "We gave up some points in the first half and 10 or 12 were on transition because we turned it over or weren't hustling back on defense."
Egekeze scored the first six points of the second quarter to narrow Hampshire's lead to 17-11. Hampshire (18-10, 11-6) rattled off six straight points to widen the margin to 23-11.
"They really came at us in the first quarter. We were kind of shocked by that. They made some big plays but we knew that we could bounce back," Egekeze said. "My job was just to clean up anything on the glass and get to the rim."
That's when Huntley 3-pointers started to fall. The Red Raiders closed out the half with a 15-2 run, including three buckets from beyond the arc. Sroka's trey with five seconds to intermission put Huntley on top, 26-25.
"Defensive rebounding. That was our Achilles' heel," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "We gave away way too many second chance opportunities. We probably gave away 10 or 12 extra points in the first half. It snowballed from there."
The Red Raiders' 3-point barrage continued in the third quarter with four treys that gave them a 44-37 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter.
"But the flip side of (being behind early) was it was a good lesson for the regional. We got down but managed to get back in it," Benson said. "We had everybody contribute in the second half to get back in it and that's the way we have to play."
Huntley added three more treys in the final frame. Reserve Zachery Fitzgerald made the last one.
Collin Woods and Jeremy Rosa led Hampshire's scoring with 12 points while teammate Jackson Milison tallied 11.