Huntley handles DeKalb to reach Dayton title game
Huntley starters Ben Ahmer and Adam Guazz were sitting on the bench together in foul trouble during Wednesday's semifinal game against DeKalb in the 92nd Annual Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic at DeKalb.
While that could've spelled doom for the Red Raiders, it proved once again that this team's talent runs deep, as the Red Raiders didn't seem to miss a beat rolling past DeKalb, 65-45.
"All of our guys do a good job in their roles," Huntley coach Will Benson said. "They share the ball, they have great senior leadership, they know it's about winning, and whoever is open is going to shoot. Normally we don't sit Ben (Ahmer) and (Adam) Guazz for that long, even with fouls, and I said I'll get you guys back in and seriously they were both like 'Let them go, they've done a really good job,' because it's all about the team."
Recognizing that the Barbs had the natural energy of being on their home court with the motivation of a victory meaning a berth in Thursday's title game was something the Red Raiders considered. They also pushed it aside, jumping on the Barbs from the get-go and really never looking back while snagging that berth to face Geneva in the championship at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The Red Raiders already defeated the Vikings, 51-39, during the Crystal Lake Central Thanksgiving tournament on Nov. 24.
Huntley (10-4) jumped ahead, 19-12, after one quarter and finished the half with a 3-pointer from Ahmer to take a 33-17 lead into halftime.
"The kids were great," Benson said. "Noah Only had one of his best games. He was outstanding."
Once again the Red Raiders got solid contributions up and down the lineup. While Aiden Wieczorek led the team with 15 points and Ahmer had 10, they also received nine points each from Nathan Ary, Ian Ravagnie and Only and another eight points from Guazz. Wieczorek also grabbed nine rebounds and had five assists and three steals.
"It's really cool because we all really help and we all play a big role," Only said. "It's No. 1 through No. 16. Even the bench players bring their energy, which brings energy to the court which we feed off them. Everybody plays a big role whether you play or not and it all comes together at the end."
DeKalb couldn't get anything going offensively, scoring just 23 points through the first three quarters and shooting just 37% (17-of-46) compared to Huntley's 61% effort (28-of-46).
The Barbs didn't help themselves on the glass either, getting outrebounded 32-21.
Lane McVicar paced the Barbs with 13 points and eight rebounds and Darrell Island scored eight points while Sean Reynolds chipped in with seven points.