CARY – The last time Huntley’s girls basketball team played at Elroy Fitzgerald Gymnasium remained etched in the Red Raiders’ memories when they stepped onto the court Friday against Cary-Grove.
Almost exactly a year ago the Red Raiders blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, which cost them a share of the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title. While the stakes weren’t exactly the same Friday, Huntley was determined to not let the past repeat itself. The Red Raiders outscored the Trojans by 12 in the second half en route to a 48-39 FVC Valley win to keep their division record unblemished.
“We were mentally prepared for that,” Huntley senior guard Bethany Zornow said. “We watched more film about them. We knew what we had to do in order to not let the same thing happen in the second half. We just knew our assignment and collectively did well as a team.”
Huntley coach Steve Raethz tasked Zornow with the responsibility of trying to shut down C-G junior guard Katie Barker, whose 20.8 points a game leads the area. Zornow prepared for the challenge by guarding Huntley assistant coach Phil Leiterman, who played the role of Barker in practice.
It paid off for Zornow and the Red Raiders. Zornow limited Barker to 11 points, including only three field goals, and Huntley bounced back from a three-point halftime deficit.
Despite jumping to a 10-4 lead through one quarter, Huntley (17-3, 7-0 FVC Valley) scored only six points in the second quarter in an ugly offensive first half for both teams. C-G (12-8, 3-4) took a 19-16 lead into halftime after junior Alli Josefowicz scored three points in the final 1:18 of the quarter.
The Red Raiders played like a completely different team in the third quarter. Led by sophomore forward Ali Andrews, who scored a game-high 18 points, Huntley was able to break through against the Trojans’ defense.
Sophomore point guard Kayla Barreto made two 3-pointers in a 20-second span with two minutes left in the third quarter to turn a three-point Huntley lead into a 31-22 advantage. C-G never recovered, only getting as close as seven points the rest of the game.
“Those 3-pointers were huge and really opened things up for us,” Raethz said of Barreto’s threes. “I just thought we got into a much better flow offensively in the second half and were more patient. As a result of that, we got better shots.”
The Trojans tried to pack in the paint to limit Ali Andrews and Sam Andrews’ effectiveness. Ali Andrews often found herself double- or triple-teamed, but her turnaround jumper was difficult to stop. Senior forward Sam Andrews added 13 points for Huntley.
C-G had its chances, but turnovers thwarted the offense. The Trojans finished with 20 turnovers and it at times prevented the offense from getting in rhythm. Seniors Abby Glaysher and Abby Jakubicek scored nine and five points for C-G, respectively.
“We decided a while back we’re not the old press and get in your face [defense],” C-G coach Rod Saffert said. “We realize we’re much better when we play below the 3-point line. We know what [Huntley] is going to do. They’re still tough to stop.”