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Huntley's Sam Andrews (40) battles for a rebound between Dundee-Crown's Lauren Lococo (left) and Emilie Michalski on Monday. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Many basketball teams sputter out of the holiday break like a car needing a tuneup, but Huntley’s girls looked polished and performed with precision Monday night against Dundee-Crown in their first game since Dec. 29.
The Red Raiders scored 33 of the game’s first 35 points thanks largely to backcourt pressure, and clicked at the offensive end as well in a 66-33 Fox Valley Valley victory.
“We always know to push it hard and keep it going no matter what, even after a break,” Huntley freshman post player Ali Andrews said.
Andrews scored 14 points, blocked three shots and pulled down eight rebounds while her junior sister Sam scored 19 points, hauled down nine rebounds and dished out three assists.
“I think our kids came out with a real purpose to start the second half of the season,” Huntley coach Steve Raethz said. “Definitely we want to contend for a conference title and we know that every conference game is important.
“And this is our first game that we’ve been at home in a while so it was nice to play a home game.”
After 11 minutes and 27 seconds, D-C had 12 turnovers, and had missed 12-of-13 shots, while Sam Andrews had 10 of her points and Ali nine of hers as the Red Raiders built the 33-2 advantage.
“That’s really a tough way to start,” D-C coach Michelle Russell said. “We didn’t handle their press real well.
“We panicked and fouled a little bit.”
For D-C, it wasn’t all gloom and doom, though. Once the Red Raiders press came off, the Chargers outscored Huntley 12-10 in the second quarter.
“Emily Michalski did a phenomenal job on (Ali) Andrews,” Russell said. “She’s a tough player to beat. I think Emily really came to play. I’m real proud of her effort today, to be sure.”
Michalski finished with a team-high 12 points and had four rebounds and two blocked shots. But the fast start by Huntley led to numerous Red Raiders substitutions throughout the last three quarters.
“I thought we came out and we really played with a lot of intensity tonight,” Red Raiders coach Raethz said. “Our press generated some turnovers and got some early offense for us and really got us in a nice flow to start the game.
“I thought our kids really did a nice job tonight collectively. They played pretty well both ends of the floor.”
In winning for the fourth straight time, Huntley got five points and nine rebounds from Haley Ream and seven points from Bethany Zornow. D-C’s Jillian Wiechmann had seven points, but the Chargers never did recover from the turnovers and 6-of-40 shooting from the field over the first three quarters.
Huntley (14-3, 4-0) now turns its attention to second-place Cary-Grove in a battle Saturday at home between FVC Valley contenders.
“There were a lot of real positives to take away from this game,” Raethz said. “Now we’ll get ready for a game against Cary-Grove Saturday that’s really going to be a tough one. They’re only one game back of us and are always good so it’s a very important one. I think it’s one where the kids have a pretty good understanding of how tough it will be Saturday.”