HUNTLEY – Huntley’s gymnasium is becoming a house of horrors for visitors.
The Red Raiders shut down Crystal Lake Central in a 49-point win last week and again displayed suffocating defense against Cary-Grove Tuesday night. Through three quarters, the Trojans had only a pair of field goals.
“That’s how we’ve been the past three years,” Huntley forward Amanze Egekeze said. “That’s one reason we’ve won three straight FVC Valley titles. We’re trying to keep [the defense] up.”
The Raiders rolled to a 58-25 victory in their Fox Valley Conference Valley Division boys basketball opener, their 33rd victory in 35 division games since the 2011 season.
Egekeze dominated both ends with 23 points on 10 of 16 field-goal shooting, with 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. It was the fifth win in six games for Huntley (5-3, 1-0 FVC Valley).
“We were really amped for this game,” forward Riley Wicks said. “It’s our first conference game at home and we wanted to start off on a good note. We play a lot different at home. It seems like we’re a lot more confident than on the road.”
Huntley took full advantage of Egekeze since C-G had no player taller than 6-foot-4 to match up with the 6-8 senior.
“That was one of the first times this year where we were really able to exploit Amanze and take advantage of how good he is,” Raiders coach Marty Manning said. “There’s been a few games where we played and didn’t get him the ball as much as we should.
“And some of that’s Amanze’s fault too, he’s a very deferring individual where he won’t be actually demanding the ball and a lot of times he’ll pass it. This was a game where Amanze could show the diverse offensive skills he has.”
The Trojans (3-5, 0-1) had trouble dealing with Egekeze on their offensive end, too.
“[Egekeze] plays a lot of help [defense], kind of like a one-man zone,” C-G coach Ralph Schuetzle said. “We just couldn’t execute our offense.”
Huntley jumped out quickly with Wicks and Zach Gorney both hitting 3-pointers in the first quarter. Wicks added another in the second, then Egekeze made his last four shots, including a third-quarter dunk.
“We have a pretty big team and knew we could get mismatches a lot,” Egekeze said. “Coach told me I was posting up too much in the first half, so we moved the ball around more and it opened up help-side defense and I got a lot of looks in the second half.”
Wicks added 13 points and the Raiders outrebounded C-G, 36-12.
The Trojans finally found some offense in the fourth quarter, hitting 6 of 12 from the field. Schuetzle found something positive from that quarter.
“Just with our effort and our scramble defense,” he said. “They had to leave their starters in, they were still going to win the game, but we pressured with their starters still in. We just have to get better offensively. When the shot is there, you have to stick it.”