Huntley heads into postseason winners of 9 straight

  • Crystal Lake Central's Isabelle Szela lands on Huntley's Jori Heard under the hoop during varsity girls basketball action at Huntley Friday night.

    Crystal Lake Central's Isabelle Szela lands on Huntley's Jori Heard under the hoop during varsity girls basketball action at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Anna Campanelli, center, battles Crystal Lake Central's Olivia Arndt, right, for the ball in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Central's Paige Keller, left, keeps her eyes on the action.

    Huntley's Anna Campanelli, center, battles Crystal Lake Central's Olivia Arndt, right, for the ball in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Central's Paige Keller, left, keeps her eyes on the action. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Jori Heard glides down the court against Crystal Lake Central in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Jori Heard glides down the court against Crystal Lake Central in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Reese Schurter, left, and Taja Bryan, right, battle Huntley's Ally Braaten, center, for the ball in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Crystal Lake Central's Reese Schurter, left, and Taja Bryan, right, battle Huntley's Ally Braaten, center, for the ball in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Jori Heard, right, tries to escape from Crystal Lake Central's Olivia Arndt in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Jori Heard, right, tries to escape from Crystal Lake Central's Olivia Arndt in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Morgan McCaughn, right, defends as Crystal Lake Central's Isabelle Szela corrals the ball near the hoop in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Morgan McCaughn, right, defends as Crystal Lake Central's Isabelle Szela corrals the ball near the hoop in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Jessica Ozzauto, left, muscles her way past Crystal Lake Central's Paige Keller in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Jessica Ozzauto, left, muscles her way past Crystal Lake Central's Paige Keller in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Paige Keller is all smiles after draining a free throw to record her 1,000th career point during varsity girls basketball action at Huntley Friday night.

    Crystal Lake Central's Paige Keller is all smiles after draining a free throw to record her 1,000th career point during varsity girls basketball action at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Samantha Campanelli, center, looks past the defense of Crystal Lake Central's Paige Keller, left, and Kathryn Hamill, right, under the hoop in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Samantha Campanelli, center, looks past the defense of Crystal Lake Central's Paige Keller, left, and Kathryn Hamill, right, under the hoop in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Anna Campanelli, left, tussles with Crystal Lake Central's Isabelle Szela in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Anna Campanelli, left, tussles with Crystal Lake Central's Isabelle Szela in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Huntley's Anna Campanelli, center, navigates the Crystal Lake Central defense of Courtney Schober, left, and Taja Bryan, right, in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night.

    Huntley's Anna Campanelli, center, navigates the Crystal Lake Central defense of Courtney Schober, left, and Taja Bryan, right, in varsity girls basketball at Huntley Friday night. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

 
 
Updated 2/11/2022 10:00 PM

Huntley celebrated its first Fox Valley Conference championship in five years on Wednesday with a 30-point win against Dundee-Crown.

There was no slowing down the Red Raiders in their regular-season finale on Friday, this time running away with a 42-16 victory over Crystal Lake Central.

 

Huntley will enter the playoffs on a nine-game winning streak after ending the regular season at 21-6 and 17-1 in the FVC, with its only conference loss to Prairie Ridge on Jan. 19.

"Being able to win the conference outright [Wednesday], I'm just so proud of our kids and how hard they've played all season," Raiders coach Steve Raethz said. "I thought tonight was a great way to finish the regular season and really use it as a springboard for the postseason."

Central (19-12, 11-7 FVC) trailed the Raiders, 12-8, with 6:39 to go in the second quarter, but saw its deficit balloon to 27-11 at halftime and 39-11 entering the fourth after a scoreless third quarter for the Tigers on 0-of-13 shooting.

Jessie Ozzauto, Morgan McCaughn and Sammi Campanelli all scored five points in the second quarter for Huntley, while Ozzauto added six points on two 3-pointers in the third. She hit a step-back 3 and beat the buzzer at the end of the third with the Raiders' student section cheering her on a few feet away.

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"We worked all offseason for that, so it was really fun to get that [FVC] trophy," said Ozzauto, who had a game-high 13 points and hit three 3s. "From the beginning, every day, we've just been getting better. We're playing really good together, probably the best we've been played all year both offensively and defensively. We all feed off each other's energy."

McCaughn scored 10 points for Huntley and Sammi Campanelli tossed in eight. Anna Campanelli only had two points but made a big impact with 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.

"She's been rebounding the ball really well for us the last few weeks," Raethz said of Anna Campanelli, a freshman. "Her game has really progressed since the start of the season and it's only going to continue to get better.

"She's really come into her own during the second half of the season."

Anna Campanelli has been a starter for the Raiders since the team lost senior Nicole Flaherty to a torn ACL. She's been a big part of the team's success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"All the girls have been super welcoming and always keeping me going," Anna Campanelli said. "I just want to help everyone and push the ball up the floor. ... I like to help create the energy and keep our team going."

Central, which was 4 of 39 (10.3%) from the field and made only one field goal in the second half, was led offensively by Katie Hamill with five points and Paige Keller with four.

Keller entered Friday's game four points from 1,000 in her career and reached the milestone on a free throw with 6:39 remaining in the second quarter. The game was stopped to recognize her achievement and Keller was later presented with the game ball.

The Tigers leading scorer has 1,000 career points in roughly 2 1/2 seasons. She did not start as a freshman and Central played only six games last year because of COVID-19 protocols. Keller and the Tigers now turn their attention to the postseason.

A win in its first playoff game would give Central its first 20-win season since 1995.

"The postseason is anyone's game," said Keller, who was a part of Central's last regional champion in 2019. "My freshman year we had about a .500 [record] and we won the regional championship. It's anyone's game in the postseason. The last place team in the conference can win. None of your past records mean anything.

"I think that's why we're so excited. It's anyone's game, and we want it."

Huntley, meanwhile, will try to win its second consecutive regional title (not counting last year's COVID-19-shortened season without a postseason).

"It's really exciting," Anna Campanelli said of preparing for her first playoff game. "We've been practicing really hard and staying really focused. I hope we can continue playing well, work as a team and just keep winning."

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