ALGONQUIN – Huntley’s defensive game plan sounded pretty straightforward in theory, yet more difficult to actually execute.
The Red Raiders knew all about Jacobs’ Brett Schlicker and Jackson Martucci’s exploits from behind the 3-point arc, where they had combined for 56 3s in the past six games.
On Friday, Schlicker hit eight and Martucci made six in a win against Cary-Grove.
Huntley was determined not to let that happen.
“We went black on them, which is face deny and chase them out front, don’t let them get off a shot,” Raiders guard Lucas Crosby said. “We knew they were going to have to beat us as a team without those two, because we were going to take away as many shots as we could. We did what we had to.”
Huntley limited Martucci and Schlicker to 13 shot attempts for the game, with three 3s, and stopped the Golden Eagles’ nine-game winning streak with a 52-40 Fox Valley Conference victory Tuesday.
The Raiders (18-5, 10-1 FVC) started hot, hitting 7 of 11 field goals in the first quarter and never trailed. They are tied with Burlington Central (20-4, 10-1) for first place.
“Don’t let those guys get clean looks from the 3-point line,” Huntley coach Will Benson said. “They’re really, really good at it. Our kids played very disciplined. Our goal was four 3s or less between the two. They hit two, and Martucci hit one fadeaway from 25 feet, there’s nothing we can do about that. We did not let them get going early.”
The “black” meant whoever guarded Martucci and Schlicker face-guarded to deny the ball, and did not offer help on other players. Jacobs sophomore guard Ben Jurzak got going, scoring 20 points and hitting three 3s, but Huntley accepted that since Martucci scored 10, with two 3s, and Schlicker did not score.
Ian Ravagnie led Huntley with 16 points, Omare Segarra scored 12 and Noah Only had 11. Segarra got 11 of his points in the first half when the Raiders hit 13 of 22 field goals.
“I just felt like I had the drive, and when they came up I would kick it out to one of my shooters,” Segarra said.
Huntley stretched the lead to 37-23 early in the third quarter, but the Golden Eagles (12-11, 6-5) fought back to make it 39-34 to start the fourth quarter. They could not get closer.
“They always face[-guard] Jackson and take him away,” Eagles coach Jimmy Roberts said. “We knew with what him and Brett had been doing, we figured they would face both of them and try to take both of them away.
“When teams do that, it exposes some other things. When they face-guard them they’re locked on and they’re no help. So when you do that on two guys, it creates opportunities for others. We have to use that to our advantage.
“Ben played really well. We needed more from other guys.”
Roberts thought the start of the game was crucial, as Jacobs fought from behind all night.
“They did a good job offensively early, and we didn’t do a good job defensively early, and it got out to 14-4,” Roberts said. “That’s not a good start, and that’s what it hung around for the rest of the game. That dug a hole for us.”
Benson credited his reserves, the Red team, for simulating what the Raiders would see with only one day of practice. Huntley played Boylan on Saturday, so it had only Monday to prepare on the court for Jacobs.
“Our Red group did a great job of running Jacobs’ sets and getting the White group ready to guard all of Jacobs’ actions,” Benson said. “They run more sets than anyone in our league, so that was really important.”