ROCKFORD – Bryce Only didn’t think Huntley played its game in the first half of Wednesday’s Class 4A Rockford East Regional semifinal against the host E-Rabs.
Only’s Red Raiders scored 14 points before halftime of a 53-43 loss against a quick Rockford East squad. The Red Raiders got more of what they wanted in the second half before Rockford East went on a 10-point run to end the game, thanks in part to late free-throw shooting.
Only and Red Raiders (17-9) coach Marty Manning pointed to the first half after the loss.
“We didn’t play (in the first half). We didn’t play basketball,” Only said. “Coach Manning came and us at halftime and said, just play basketball, and we did that in the second half.”
Only said quick Rockford East (17-10) guards such as Isaiah Box, who scored 14 points, gave the Red Raiders problems.
“They’ve got big, quick guards – guards that aren’t afraid to get up in your grill,” Only said. “They’re a good team. They’ve got Box, who leads them, and they’ve got long, quick guards. Guys that are quick. They can do that to you.”
Amanze Egekeze led Huntley with 13 points. Only finished with 12 and Jake Wagner had 10.
Manning thought the game could have been different if players other than Egekeze and Only were more involved before halftime.
“We needed some other guys to be more aggressive in the first half, especially,” Manning said. “In the second half we had some guys that were a little more aggressive. ... I think definitely the first half we had some guys that weren’t being aggressive and making plays like they needed to be.”