Basketball

High school boys basketball: Huntley defense slows Hampshire in Red Raiders' win

defense slows potent Hampshire offense

Uchenna Egekeze
Uchenna Egekeze

HUNTLEY – Any time two players are posting double-doubles, it’s a good sign.

Huntley juniors Uchenna Egekeze and Ryan Sroka each finished with double-digit points and rebounds in the Red Raiders’ 67-53 Fox Valley Conference win over Hampshire on Wednesday.

“We need those guys to play like that,” Huntley coach Will Benson said. “They’re starting to both round into form offensively, defensively and under the glass.”

Egekeze totaled 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Sroka had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Davis Pasco added 12 points, Patrick Roppolo had 10.

Benson was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort a few weeks ago at DeKalb’s Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic. The Red Raiders (10-5, 5-2) have turned that trend around, holding Prairie Ridge to 50 points on Friday and then slowing down a Hampshire team coming off games of 81 and 75 points.

The Whip-Purs (11-6, 5-2) were playing without sharpshooting senior guard Kyle Johnson. Johnson collided heads with another player in Saturday’s 81-44 win over Kaneland and has been out since.

“He took a real nasty head-to-head and instantly just swelled up the size of a softball coming out of his eyebrow,” Hampshire coach Ben Whitehouse said. “He was just able to open his eye up the other day.”

Anderson was in street clothes on the bench, and the Whips sorely missed him.

“You can’t quantify what it does for you defensively,” Whitehouse said. “You know offensively he’s averaging eight points a game, he’s a 50 percent 3-point shooter, he helps space the floor. But what he does defensively, the way he is another guy out there that communicates, and he’s one of our best rebounders … it means more than just the stats.”

Huntley outrebounded Hampshire, 38-28, with Ekegeze and Sroka leading the way inside. The Red Raiders shot well (56 percent from the floor), largely because they had little trouble finding easy buckets inside.

Huntley's defense held Hampshire to 38 percent shooting.

“The other part was, we didn’t give them a lot of second-chance opportunities,” Benson said. “The effort plays were really, really good tonight for us and that’s a credit to the kids. They did a great job.”

Huntley extended a double-digit lead in the second quarter and never slowed down. The closest Hampshire cut it in the second half was 13 points.

Hampshire’s Collin Woods led the Whips with 23 points. Jackson Milison scored nine points and had eight rebounds, starting in Johnson’s absence.

With the win, and with Dundee-Crown’s win over Crystal Lake Central on Wednesday, Huntley moves to a half game back of first place in the FVC. Huntley, Hampshire and D-C (all at 5-2 in the FVC) are just behind Central (11-5, 5-1).

“This is a huge win,” Egekeze said. “We knew they only had one loss coming in. We knew it was important for us to come out and get a win here.”

STAR OF THE GAME

Uchenna Egekeze, Huntley, jr., G

Egekeze led the Red Raiders with 17 points and 13 rebounds in a 67-53 win over Hampshire on Wednesday.

“Coach tells me to crash the boards as much as possible, that’s just what I try and do,” Egekeze said.

THE NUMBER

2: Red Raiders with double-doubles. Besides Egekeze, Ryan Sroka scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

AND ANOTHER THING …

Hampshire played without guard Kyle Johnson, who was out with a head injury after a collision against Kaneland on Saturday. Coach Ben Whitehouse said Johnson’s timetable for return is uncertain.

Huntley 67, Hampshire 53

Hamp 11 13 16 13 – 53

Hunt 18 23 14 12 – 67

HAMPSHIRE (53): Woods 7 7-10 23, J. Anderson 2 2-4 6, Rosa 3 0-0 6, Erickson 0 0-0 0, Milison 4 0-1 9, Shaw 3 1-2 7, B. Anderson 0 0-0 0, Davis 0 0-0 0, Bishop 1 0-0 2, Lazar 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 20 10-16 53.

3-point goals: 1 (Milison 1).

HUNTLEY (67): Draper 3 1-1 8, Roppolo 5 0-0 10, Pasco 6 0-0 12, Egekeze 7 2-2 17, Sroka 4 3-4 13, Crosby 3 0-1 7, Mendoza 0 0-0 0, Vrugt 0 0-0 0, French 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 6-8 67.

3-point goals: 5 (Sroka 2, Egekeze 1, Crosby 1, Draper 1).

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