Huntley's offense clicks against McHenry
Huntley girls basketball coach Steve Raethz admitted that the start of Wednesday's game against McHenry was a little too fast for his liking.
Huntley typically likes to play a more leisurely style of offense, but the circumstances made it difficult.
The Red Raiders and Warriors exchanged leads seven times in the opening quarter and combined to put up 65 shots in the first half. It was Huntley, however, that continued to push the pace in the second half.
Huntley senior forward Kamsi Nwogu scored eight straight points between the second and third quarters, and the Raiders pulled away for a 61-49 victory in their Fox Valley Conference game against the Warriors.
"The pace was a little bit faster than I think we wanted it," Raethz said. "I think [McHenry] did a good job of getting in the gaps and scoring, not only off the drive but making kicks and knocking down some big shots.
"Both teams got off to a fast starts, but credit to our kids. They continued to fight and grind and extended that lead."
McHenry freshman guard Ana Gerstung (game-high 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting) showed some strong moves and finishes early on, pouring in nine points in the first quarter and scoring 13 by half.
Huntley was able to match Gerstung's scoring by controlling the boards.
Sophomore Carley Faulkner scored the first six points of the game for the Raiders, and Jori Heard added eight points and six rebounds in the opening eight minutes to help McHenry (2-5, 1-4) build a 21-17 lead after the first.
Huntley held a 26-17 advantage in rebounding over McHenry in the first half and led, 33-26, at the break.
"We were all fighting for rebounds and talking a lot," Heard said. "That's a big thing that we work on [in practice], boxing out and getting those big rebounds. I love that we all work together as a team to win."
Nwogu finished with a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds for Huntley. Heard (11 rebounds) and Jessie Ozzauto scored 11 points apiece, Faulkner added nine points, and Sammi Campanelli tossed in five.
Huntley (4-1, 4-1 FVC), along with Cary-Grove, remains a game behind Burlington Central for the FVC lead.
"It's really good start for us," Nwogu said. "Especially these last few years, we have a lot of people who can contribute now. Everyone is getting good looks and scoring."
Alyssa Franklin had seven points and seven rebounds for McHenry. Ashley Wachter had six points on two 3s.
McHenry coach Rob Niemic said Wednesday's effort was the best all season from the Warriors.
"That's the hardest we've played all year," Niemic said. "The problem is we forget to rebound today. Kamsi is tough and a couple of their kids pushed us around under the rim, and we let it happen. Giving up 60 [points], though, is something I didn't expect. It was mainly because they stuck with it. Offensive rebounds really hurt us today."