Girls basketball season comes to disappointing end

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Coach Steve Raethz talks with his team during a timeout. (courtesy of E. Pilat)

The Huntley Red Raiders’ girls basketball team had a nice postseason streak going in the last decade: eight regional titles, three sectional titles, one super-sectional title, and one trip to the final four. This year, however, the success that the program had harbored in the past was short lived.

The Raiders finished the regular season with a record of 17-12 while competing in some of the state’s top tournaments, including the Montini Catholic Christmas Tournament and the DeKalb Martin Luther King Jr. Classic. The highlight of the Raiders’ season, though, was capturing part of the four-way tie for the Fox Valley Conference Championship.

“There were some ebbs and flows to our season,” head coach Steve Raethz said.

Heading into the postseason, the girls were given the seven-seed in the Hampshire Sectional, and had to play in one of two play-in games to reach the regional semifinal hosted at Harlem High School. To open postseason play, the team defeated the Harlem Huskies in a dominant performance, 54-31.

In the regional semifinal, the Raiders faced a familiar foe: the Hononegah Indians. The Raiders defeated the Indians last season in the sectional final to advance to the Elite Eight, and have met each other in the playoffs consistently over the last 10 years.

Earlier this season, Hononegah routed Huntley 57-27 with their high-intensity play and three-point shooting abilities. Unfortunately, the outcome seemed to repeat itself.

  • Senior Grace Gajewski drives toward the basket. (courtesy of R. O'Sullivan)

The Raiders struggled on the offensive end against a stifling Indian defense, and could not counteract the 12 three-pointers that Hononegah scored. For comparison’s sake, Huntley only scored 11 field goals the entire game. The Raiders ended their season with a 52-26 loss.

However, there was something good that came out of the loss: senior Morgan Clausen scored her 1,000th point to become the fifth player in the history of Huntley girls basketball to do so. She finished with 1,010 points in her four-year varsity career.

“I’m glad I reached it [1,000], but I would much rather have a win and continue postseason play,” Clausen said.

“I think we can all agree that we wanted to make a deeper postseason run than we did and we’ve been used to in the past, but I was really proud of the way we closed the season,” Raethz said.

The Raiders will be graduating six seniors (Clausen, Abbey Brown, Maddy Moffett, Kaylee Andrea, Grace Gajewski, and Ashlyn Schlapia), but have young talent found in sophomore Missy Moffett and key bench players also returning (juniors Mallory Moffett, Jackie Dorin, and Katie Bessey) that lend some promise for next season.

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