HUNTLEY – Huntley’s defense was definitely not the issue.
The Red Raiders boys basketball team stifled Carmel for most of the game Friday night, even holding the Corsairs to eight points in the first half.
The offense was another story. Huntley struggled with passing and shooting, which, even though it did not trail in regulation, proved to be its undoing.
Carmel took its first lead in overtime and pulled away to a 38-31 win in a nonconference boys basketball game, handing the Raiders their first loss of the season.
“We just have to get smarter,” Raiders forward Bryce Only said. “We stuck to the game plan defensively. We can’t go out timid [on offense]. We have to go out and knock shots down. We had open looks in the first quarter and have to knock it down. [Carmel] is a good team, but we should have come out of here with a victory tonight.”
Huntley (3-1) held a 16-8 lead at halftime, but the Corsairs opened the second half strong to tie the score at 16-16. The Raiders managed to hit a few shots, with 3-pointers from T.J. Adams and Trevor Oslance and led until Carmel’s Billy Kirby nailed a 3 with 1:13 remaining.
Raiders coach Marty Manning called timeout to talk about what to do.
“We were just looking to run our offense and find a good shot,” Manning said. “I didn’t know if we could pass the ball without turning it over for a minute. Some of the passes we made were unexplainable. Even in the first half, our ballhandling was poor.”
Huntley’s pass went out of bounds, but Carmel was unable to score in the final minute, sending the game to overtime. Corsairs guard Nickai Poyser hit a 3 to open overtime and the Corsairs maintained that lead the rest of the way.
“I don’t know what happened to us in the first half,” Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. “If I had been a fan I think at halftime I would have asked for my money back. It had to be frustrating for Marty too. Our second half was a lot better.”
Carmel’s 6-foot-9 junior Jack George scored eight of his team-high nine points after halftime. Cullen Barr, a 6-6 forward, scored six of his seven points in the second half.
“Eight points is nowhere near where we should be at for a half,” Barr said. “We took it to them in the second half and got a ‘W.’ ”
Huntley is playing without 6-6 junior Amanze Egekeze, who had surgery for patellar tendinitis in his right knee, and off-guard Tommy Regan, who suffered a broken finger in his right (non-shooting) hand in practice Tuesday. Still, the Raiders expected better than 28.9 percent field-goal shooting (13 of 45) and 15 turnovers.
“We played great defense,” said Adams, who tied Only with team-highs of nine points. “We just couldn’t get it in the basket tonight. If we play defense like this every night, we can win most games. We just have to hit some shots.”