HAMPSHIRE – Physical defense, savvy offense, even a milestone.
Everything went streaking Huntley's way in a 58-42 Fox Valley Conference win Wednesday against Hampshire.
Meanwhile, the Whip-Purs were left searching for answers after absorbing a third straight loss on the heels of an 11-game winning streak.
Huntley defenders Ryan Sroka and Uchenna Egekeze matched up against Hampshire leading scorers Nick Erickson and Collin Woods, respectively. Playing aggressive man-to-man defense, the Huntley pair held the Hampshire duo to six points apiece.
"That was one of our main goals," Egekeze said. "We know Hampshire is really long. They like to get after it. They like to get transition buckets. We wanted to make sure that we were the aggressors."
Hampshire (11-6, 5-3 FVC) was limited to 40 field-goal attempts overall and made 1 of 4 tries from 3-point range. Huntley led, 33-16, at halftime and maintained at least a nine-point cushion thereafter.
"We reverted back to 'me' ball, the iso and trying to take guys 1-on-1, Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "It's the complete opposite of what we did well over our stretch of playing good basketball. We have to share the basketball."
The FVC victory kept Huntley (14-3, 7-1), which has won six straight, in sole possession of second place. The Red Raiders remain a game behind Cary-Grove (16-2, 8-0), which won, 68-44, on Wednesday at Jacobs. The Trojans defeated Huntley, 63-53, on Dec. 6 in Cary. The teams meet again Jan. 28 in Huntley.
"We needed this bad because one of our goals is to win conference," Sroka said after scoring 17 points. "We want another shot at Cary. It's going to come down to that."
Egekeze fueled the Huntley offense with 24 points, highlighted by his 1,000th career point on a third-quarter leaner from the paint.
The game was halted to announce the milestone, and Hampshire athletic director Mike Sitter presented the ball to Egekeze, who received a standing ovation. The 6-foot-3 senior finished the game with 1,009 career points.
"It was a great feeling," said Egekeze, a three-year varsity player who maintains a 3.4 grade-point average. "I didn't think they were going to stop and do all that stuff since it was an away game, but it was still a great moment."
Sophomore Keynan Davis led Hampshire with 14 points.