Huntley shoots past CL South to take FVC lead
Huntley wanted to learn how much it had improved from its four-point loss to Crystal Lake South on Nov. 25 until Friday night.
The Red Raiders found the answer they wanted -- a lot.
Huntley hit nine 3-pointers in the first half, with six players connecting from behind the arc, and took control on its way to a 64-48 win over the Gators in their Fox Valley Conference boys basketball game.
The Raiders (9-2, 6-0) took sole possession of first place in the league and led by double digits for all but 40 seconds of the second half.
"When we played them at Thanksgiving (the Johnburg tournament championship game), we said, 'We play them three weeks from now and see how much better we've gotten,'" Raiders guard Ty Goodrich said. "We've for sure gotten better. I'm proud of how far we've come. We have to keep getting better the rest of the season."
Mark Roesner scored on a rebound basket early in the second as Huntley for a 19-17 lead that Huntley never relinquished. He hit a 3 on the Raiders' next possession, the first of four consecutive 3s, all from different players. They led 38-26 at halftime.
"We're fortunate we have guys who can shoot and we talk about making the right play," Huntley coach Will Benson said. "(Golden State coach) Steve Kerr said, 'If you make the right play, the ball will find who's supposed to shoot it.' I thought that was a great simple way to say it.
"That's what we try to do, make simple plays, extra pass, everybody trusts everybody. It's nice when shots go in, obviously."
South (9-2, 5-1) trailed by 19 in the third quarter and eventually cut the deficit to 57-48 with 3:30 remaining in the game, but did not score again. Guards Cooper LePage (26) and AJ Demirov (22) scored all the Gators' points and attempted 38 of their 45 shots.
"(Huntley) moved the ball well, they have five guys who can shoot and they got into an incredible rhythm," Gators coach Matt LePage said. "The ball speed was very good, moving us side to side. We knew they were a good shooting team, but they blitzed us there. That second quarter was tough."
Goodrich led the Raiders with 14 points, Lucas Crosby scored 13, Ethan Blackmore had 12 and Ian Ravagnie had 10. Ravagnie led with nine rebounds, while Blackmore, Goodrich and Omare Segarra each grabbed seven. The Raiders outrebounded the Gators 40-21.
"We really got it going," Crosby said. "We knew we had to produce offensively to win this game. They're also a great offensive team. We had to produce and get good looks. It was the extra pass, a good look to a better look."
Huntley finished with 11 3s and hit 10 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Cooper LePage scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as South tried to gt back into the game.
"That's something we have to address (only two players scoring)," Matt LePage said. "It's a combination of those guys (LePage and Demirov) being really aggressive and probably poor coaching."