HAMPSHIRE – When shots weren’t falling from the outside, Huntley found another way for quick points.
The Red Raiders converted four three-point plays, including two in the final three minutes, and held off Hampshire 51-48 in their Fox Valley Conference game on Friday night.
Huntley (8-1, 4-0 FVC) and Hampshire (5-4, 3-1) entered as the only two teams remaining in the FVC without a conference loss. The Raiders are the defending FVC champions.
“Those were definitely big for us,” senior guard Jessie Ozzauto said of her team’s clutch three-point plays down the stretch. “You’ve just got to be tough. That was one of the things coach [Steve] Raethz was telling us. Just be tough. Those three-point plays really showed that.”
Ozzauto led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She also made 6-of-7 free throws, including all three of her freebies in the fourth quarter. Anna Campanelli had nine points, Ashlyn Horton had eight points, five rebounds and three blocks, and Sammi Campanelli chipped in six points and six rebounds.
Hampshire made a late run at Huntley trailing 50-40 with 2:27 left, but the Raiders played tight defense on the Whips’ last possession. It took the final 19.9 seconds off the clock before Chloe Van Horn scored on a layup at the buzzer for the final points of the game.
Hampshire’s gym was packed with fans Friday night, with the boys teams playing right after.
“We knew it was going to be crazy,” senior guard Sammi Campanelli said. “It’s crazy here all the time, so we were prepared. I think we just stayed in our own heads, and we tried to stay calm and collected through it all.”
Huntley led by nine points going into the fourth quarter, but in a game of runs from both teams, Hampshire cut into the lead quickly, getting two 3s from Whitney Thompson and Ceili Ramirez at the start of the fourth. A putback by Avery Cartee cut Huntley’s lead to 42-40.
That’s when the Raiders started to attack the basket.
Ozzauto made two free throws, and after two consecutive defensive stops, Ozzauto and Anna Campanelli each converted three-point plays to take a 50-40 lead with 2:27 left.
Hampshire coach Eric Samuelson said his team needed to do a better job defensively of denying Huntley.
“We’re going to fix that,” Samuelson said. “Next time, they’re either going to get a layup or they’re not going to get a layup. There aren’t going to be any and-1s. But this was good for us. Huntley is a really good team. Two undefeated teams in conference. I was really proud of how we battled back.”
Cartee led the Whips with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, Thompson had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Ashley Herzing added six points on two 3s.
Raethz was proud of how many different players stepped up for his team in big situations.
One of those players was sophomore Ava McFadden, who nailed a corner 3 with 3:50 left to give the Raiders a 42-38 lead.
“What makes this team really good is we have a lot of different players who step up at different times and contribute in different ways,” Raethz said. “We’ve been getting that from a lot of different players at different moments this season.”
“We expected it to be a tough physical game, and it definitely lived up to that. I think our kids did a great job of coming out of timeouts and just responding.”