Huntley handles Geneva to win Dayton crown
Huntley is throwing early punches and winning tournaments this season.
The Red Raiders attacked Geneva right from the tip in Thursday's championship game in the 94th Annual Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament in DeKalb, rolling past the Vikings 47-26 to win their second tournament this season.
Huntley (12-2) also won the Johnsburg/Richmond-Burton Thanksgiving tournament.
"I think this is amazing," said Huntley senior Aiden Wieczorek‚ who scored 12 points and was named tournament MVP. "We just wanted to play our game and to win this one is definitely big. Two championships. Not a lot of teams get to play for even one in a season, so two of them is really important to us. It's amazing honestly."
Geneva (9-3) fell behind 16-2 and never recovered.
"I take the blame on this one," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said. "That's a really good team though and our kids played hard."
The Vikings also lost to the Red Raiders in a tournament game, losing 51-39 in the aforementioned tournament in November.
"They knew our actions and they play very good man-to-man defense," Geneva senior Chris Suger said. "They're coaching staff is very good and they knew a lot of the plays we were running and took us out of our offense early on."
The Red Raiders extended their lead to 25-5 midway through the second quarter after a John Kramer three-pointer as they were seemingly relentless.
"We take pride on the defensive end and go possession by possession," Wieczorek said. "One of our goals was to just throw the first punch because they run that zone so if they get up on you they can hold the ball for a while and then you're not scoring as quick. That's why our goal was to throw the first punch and play the way we want to play. I think we did that and it paid off definitely."
While the Vikings tried to claw back into the game, whenever they'd cut their deficit to about 12 points, the Red Raiders would answer right back. Ben Ahmer, who led the team with 15 points, did it late in the third quarter with a three-pointer while Wieczorek matched him to open the fourth quarter for a 36-21 lead.
Huntley simply doesn't endure long stretches where they struggle.
"We've had two losses and the big thing in those losses is letting runs go too long," Ahmer said. "We've learned a lot in the last two weeks or so for sure. It's next play mentality."
Geneva shot just 34.5% (10-of-29) from the field while Huntley shot 52.9% (18-of-34), including 8-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc.
Huntley outscored its four opponents in the tournament by an average of 26.25 points a game. It was a dominant performance not just on Thursday, but all week.
"It's so cool to win a tournament like this with the turning the lights off during pregame and all the cool stuff," Ahmer said. "It was a cool atmosphere and a lot of good teams, so to win a tournament like this is a great feeling."
Sugar and Max Jensen, both all-tournament selections along with Ahmer and Wieczorek, each scored six points to pace the Vikings.