Huntley edges Crystal Lake South in OT
Huntley experienced one of its most frustrating offensive nights of the season, partly due to Crystal Lake South's tough defense and partly because Ben Ahmer and Aiden Wieczorek, its best shooters, had no 3-pointers between them through the first three quarters.
Finally, Ahmer got one to fall. Then another, followed by Wieczorek's first 3.
The Red Raiders, who played from behind most of the game, went ahead with 1:00 remaining in regulation. South's Cooper LePage drove the length the court and scored at the buzzer to force overtime, but the Raiders held the lead throughout the extra period for a 48-46 Fox Valley Conference victory Friday night.
"I knew we were going to (hit shots)," Wieczorek said. "The shots were going to fall eventually. We just have to play defense the way we did. The shots were going to fall."
Ahmer missed his first eight shots; Wieczorek missed his first 10. Ahmer had 73 3s going into the game, while Wieczorek had 42.
"It was 100% frustrating," Ahmer said. "One of those nights I was just off. I feel like we just had to see it go in. Once I saw the ball go in it felt great, but it took a while."
Huntley (23-4, 12-2 FVC) was behind South (14-12, 8-6) by nine early in the fourth quarter. Ahmer hit his first 3 at 5:50 to go. His second came with 2:39, cutting the Gators' lead to 33-32.
Wieczorek then hit a 3 with 1:00 left for a 35-33 lead. LePage, who led all players with 18 points, grabbed the rebound on a missed free throw with 10 seconds to go in regulation and drove for a layup at the other end to tie.
Wieczorek hit a 3 to end a 45-second possession to start overtime and the Raiders led the rest of the way.
"The guts to find a way to get it done again was a credit to the kids," Raiders coach Will Benson said. "Ben played better defense. He had struggled shooting for a couple games. It was nice to see one go in.
"He was taking good shots, they just weren't falling. Our defense was pretty solid and our rebounding and toughness carried us through most of the game when we weren't making anything."
Adam Guazzo made two free throws for Huntley with 17 seconds left for a 48-43 lead. Arnav Jain, who finished with 15 points, hit a 3 with 5 seconds remaining, but South had no timeouts left.
"We defended as well as we have all year," Gators coach Matt LePage said. "To play that well against a team like that is a credit to our guys. We played our tails off.
"It was a combination of us guarding real well and them missing some shots early. The law of averages they're going to make some shots there. We had a nice lead and let it slip away. Then we answered to get into overtime. It was a great basketball game, one that you don't like to lose though."