CARY — In the final seconds of the first half, Bryce Only secured a defensive rebound and raced up the floor. With 1.2 remaining on the clock the Huntley senior launched the ball from half-court and watched as the ball fell through the net as the buzzer sounded.
That is how the night went for the Red Raiders as they defeated host Cary-Grove 58-42 in a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game.
Huntley (12-6 overall, 6-0 FVC Valley) played a complete game to stay undefeated. Including the half-court 3-pointer, the Red Raiders connected on eight from behind the arc while controlling rebounds and staying out of foul trouble.
Only didn't take a shot until that half-court heave but played a big role in facilitating the offense with seven assists which was what they needed after the Trojans defense shut down parts of the court and made scoring difficult at times for Huntley.
"I just tried to get down low and pull some guys with me," Only said. "I looked to dish it back out to Blake (Jacobs), Jake (Wagner) and Tommy (Regan) and let them do what they do best and that's hit shots."
The Trojans (9-9, 1-4) were only down 20-17 before the half-court buzzer beater flipped the momentum. The Trojans were on the comeback and saw big 3-point shots fall from Dean Lee and Jason Gregoire which drew them close.
Lee led the Trojans with 12 points while Gregoire added six.
"That flurry they had at the end of the half killed us," Trojans head coach Ralph Schuetzle said. "We thought we could come out int he third and spread and tried to get a good shot but it got the game going too fast for us and soon they jumped to a 12-point lead. It doesn't help when you get a guy driving and he runs into a [6-foot-7] guy. We're not used to seeing that."
For the Red Raiders, Amanze Egekeze - who missed much of the seasonhas returned to play after knee surgery — turned in his best game of the season. The 6-7 junior scored a game-high 18 points highlighted by slick post moves which either ended in a fade-away jumper or a strong move to the rim.
"I felt pretty good overall and some of those baskets down low really get me going," Egekeze said. "I think the timing on my jumps is coming around and I'm getting my lift back which is a great feeling for me."
Many times he had the opportunity to dunk but eased up and finished with a layup. Egekeze's defense has improved as he had two blocks in the game for the first time this season — a sign that his legs are starting to get stronger.
"Amanze played his best game so far," Red Raiders coach Marty Manning said. "The biggest thing that we saw was that he got two blocked shots. defensively he is starting to get some lift back in his legs which allows him to be more active and that makes us a lot better defensively. We are starting to give about two to four more minutes a game to make sure he gets those legs under him."