CRYSTAL LAKE – Huntley guard Nate Ary appreciated the support from his teammates, who kept feeding him the ball in crucial moments in the fourth quarter.
The Red Raiders appreciated Ary even more after his season-high 24-point effort.
Ary found ways to the basket all night, particularly in the fourth quarter when he scored nine consecutive points to break open a tied score and push Huntley past Crystal Lake South.
Ary’s streak started a pivotal 13-point run as the Red Raiders picked up a 68-59 victory Friday night in their Fox Valley Conference game at South.
“I got a couple of buckets early that boosted my confidence,” said Ary, who was 8 of 16 from the field. “I have such good teammates,and they just amp me up, and they’re like, ‘Keep going. Keep going.’
“Our team is so tight, and they push me, and you make one and want to keep going. I was just riding off all their energy, and I fed off them.”
Huntley (14-2, 6-1 FVC) led through the second and third quarters, pushing the advantage to 10 early in the third. But South’s Cooper LePage scored 12 of his 23 points in the third and brought the Gators (9-6, 5-1) back to tied early in the fourth.
LePage’s 3-pointer with 6:45 remaining made it 52-all, but Ary took over and scored on a three-point play and three more inside baskets. He even banked in a 6-footer while falling down for his second basket in the run.
“There were multiple times when Nate picked us up in the fourth quarter,” said Raiders forward Adam Guazzo, who scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. “He did a good job getting to the rim and finishing, and he made a good amount of free throws (7 of 10). He created space and stuff, it was good.”
After Ary’s nine-point personal run, Noah Only tipped in a shot and Ben Ahmer scored on a falling-down layup to make it 65-52 with 1:44 to go.
“Nate does things for our team that other guys don’t do,” Huntley coach Will Benson said. “He’s so strong finishing inside with both hands. That stretch where we pulled away was classic, stop, score, stop score. Just stack good possessions together. All of a sudden at the end of the game it’s where you want to be.”
Ahmer hit three 3s and scored 13, while Aiden Wieczorek added 10.
LePage was battling a sinus infection, but hit 10 of 19 shots to help bring his team back. Zach Peltz added 11 for the Gators.
“[Cooper] was fighting, doing what he could to keep us in it,” said South coach Matt LePage, Cooper’s father. “We played a really good third quarter and kept them out of the lane finally.
“We tied it and were excited. Their experience showed a little bit, and our excitement led to easy baskets for them because we had breakdowns.”
Matt LePage was impressed with the effort from Ary, who averages 7.3 points a game.
“He’s a good player, and when you see a senior like that, you just have to give him a ton of credit,” LePage said. “That was a heck of an effort by him.”
Huntley 68, Crystal Lake South 59
Ahmer 5 0-0 13, Ary 8 7-10 24, Wieczorek 4 0-0 10, Guazzo 3 1-2 8, Andrews 1 0-0 2, Only 2 0-0 5, Ravagnie 1 0-0 3, Kramer 0 3-4 3. Totals: 24 11-16 68.
CL SOUTH (59)
LePage 10 1-4 23, Jain 3 2-2 9, Kirkeeng 3 0-0 7, Peltz 4 1-2 11, Schroeder 0 0-0 0, Demirov 3 0-0 7, Miller 1 0-0 2, Stewart 0 0-0 0, Van Witzenburg 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 4-8 59.
Huntley 17 20 10 21 – 68
CL South 15 16 16 12 – 59
3-point goals: Huntley 9 (Ahmer 3, Wieczorek 2, Ary, Guazzo, Only, Ravagnie), CL South 7 (LePage 2, Peltz 2, Jain, Kirkeeng, Demirov). Total fouls: Huntley 11, CL South 15.