HUNTLEY – When Dundee-Crown's Alyssa Crenshaw, the team’s top scorer and rebounder, went to the bench in the third quarter in foul trouble, Huntley had a golden opportunity to make a big move.
It never came.
A 7-0 run by the Red Raiders earlier in the quarter cut D-C’s lead to three, but the Chargers answered with a six-point stretch of their own with Crenshaw watching.
D-C carried that momentum into the fourth and came away with a 49-42 win in the Class 4A Huntley Sectional semifinals, giving the No. 1-seeded Chargers their first sectional win since 2003.
D-C (28-6) advances to play No. 2-seeded Barrington, which beat top-seeded Rockford Auburn, 54-52, in the first semifinal, at 7 p.m. Thursday for the sectional championship. Huntley ended its season at 20-14 and the program’s first regional title since 2016. The 28 wins for D-C are a program record.
“It was an opportunity for us that we let slip away,” Huntley coach Steve Raethz said. “They capitalized on it, and that’s why they’re a great team. They had a lot of kids in that juncture rally when Alyssa went out.”
Katelyn Skibinski had five of the team’s eight points in the third. On one play, Huntley guard Raquel Radermacher stuffed Skibinski’s first shot attempt, but she gathered herself and the ball for a putback.
D-C led, 35-28, entering the fourth.
“When that happened, we’re switching matchups and making sure that we’re going to be sound defensively because obviously Huntley covers up a lot of low space,” D-C coach Sarah Miller said. "I thought we did a phenomenal job guarding without one of our bigs, and then offensively, playing with poise and still able to get get some good looks during that stretch.”
Crenshaw still led the Chargers with 15 points and eight rebounds. She made 9 of 12 free throws and surpassed 1,000 career points with a bucket in the second quarter, becoming the 10th local player to reach the mark this season.
“I thought everyone really stepped up,” Crenshaw said. “We don’t have one person on the team who is our go-to. Everyone just steps up at different times in different moments. It helps with everyone’s confidence.”
Miller pointed out stretches of clutch play from almost everyone on D-C’s roster, including solid guard play from Skibinski and Payton Schmidt against the Raiders pressure, timely rebounds and putback from Makayla Gotter, and a big swing bucket from Cassidy Randl.
After Gotter scored on a putback to give the Chargers a 41-34 lead with 4:10 left Randl took the ball at the top of the key, squared her shoulders and flew past four Raiders defenders to the basket for an easy layup.
"“She’s stepped up in some key moments in other games where she makes a huge bucket when things are a little light," Miller said. "The last few games, she’s been a difference maker.”
Schmidt (three assists) and Randl both scored nine points for D-C, Skibinski added seven points and two assists, and Gotter had seven points and six rebounds. Five of Gotter’s seven points came in the fourth.
Huntley will return most of its roster next year but will lose seniors Sydney Novak, Anna Seng, Ali Galante and Hadley Giovacchini. The Raiders won only eight games two seasons ago.
Radermacher led the Raiders with 14 points, Kamsi Nwogu has 12 points and six rebounds, freshman Carley Faulkner had nine points, and Novak added seven points.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Raethz said. “There were a lot of tears in that locker room, but at the same time, I think when they take a step back and reflect on the season, they’re that bridge and that group that got us back to this spot as a program. This was the group that broke through."
STAR OF THE GAME
Alyssa Crenshaw, Dundee-Crown, jr., F
Crenshaw had a game-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Chargers.
28: Wins for Dundee-Crown, a program record.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Crenshaw became the area’s 10th girls basketball player to reach 1,000 career points this season. Five are juniors: Crenshaw, Hampshire’s Kelby Bannerman, Burlington Central’s Elana Wells, Huntley’s Kamsi Nwogu and Marengo’s Jennifer Heinberg.
Class 4A Huntley Sectional
Dundee-Crown 49, Huntley 42
Schmidt 4 1-2 9, Oldham 1 0-0 2, Skibinski 3 1-2 7, Randl 3 2-2 9, Gotter 4 1-2 7, Crenshaw 3 9-12 15. Totals: 17 14-20 49.
Novak 3 0-0 7, Faulkner 2 5-7 9, Nwogu 4 4-5 12, Radermacher 4 6-7 14, Ozzauto 0 0-2 0. Totals: 13 15-21 42.
3-point goals: Dundee-Crown 1 (Randl), Huntley 1 (Novak), Total fouls: Dundee-Crown 17, Huntley 18. Fouled out: Novak (Huntley).