Varsity girls basketball aims for conference, regional title
A few minutes into the first quarter, senior point guard Carly Goede receives an outlet pass from fellow senior Kadie Lowery and tears down the court. She evades one, two defenders and flicks an underhand layup over a third. 2-0, Huntley. Two opposing possessions later, Lowery drives the length of the court and sinks another layup. 4-0, Huntley. Adrenaline flows through the Huntley players as fans scream with excitement. Time out, Cary Grove.
It took three quarters until the Trojans stopped Huntley’s momentum. With both teams undefeated in the conference, the game promised a down-to-the-wire pace. The Raiders had quickly taken the lead against Valley Division rivals, leading by 13 at the half. Huntley maintained a steady lead into the fourth quarter, but was eventually overtaken, 52-58.
Despite a tough loss against Cary, Huntley has done well in conference play, with an overall record of 15-6 and a conference record of 7-1. The team has blown by the remainder of the division, with a key win coming against McHenry to establish a one game lead over the third-place Warriors. As a team, the Raiders are averaging 53 points per game. The team is steadily improving with each consecutive game.
“I think that we’re gaining momentum as the season progresses,” said head coach Steve Raethz.
Returning starters, three-point specialists Goede and Lowery, and senior Cece Tsevas are joined in the starting lineup by seniors Rachel Chapuis and Mercedez Kennedy. Seniors Meagan Flynn and Bri Roeser also significantly contribute. With an all-senior powerhouse line-up, the team’s experience has proved to be a major strength. Lowery, a four-year member of the varsity squad, has signed with NCAA Division II Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. to continue her career.
“It’s really nice to have that kind of experience on our roster,” said Raethz.
Though the team heavily relies on players with one or more years of varsity experience, sophomore Haley Ream has proved to be a reliable player.
“I think that our team cohesiveness has been great this year,” said Raethz. “It’s nice to have a team that enjoys being together and plays well together.”
As a team, the players are looking forward to playoffs. This year, the Raiders host the regional, including local teams Jacobs, Prairie Ridge, McHenry, Crystal Lake South, and the No. 10 ranked team in the state, DeKalb. The primary team goals include obtaining a conference and regional title.
“We want to get through regionals and win some games in sectionals,” said Chapuis, “and we want to beat Cary and win conference.”
Cary-Grove stands between the team and a conference title. The Trojans sit at the top of the Valley Division, ranked fourth in the area by the Daily Herald, with an overall record of 20-3 and a conference record of 7-0. In an attempt to catch up to Cary, the team is looking to keep the close games from slipping through their fingers. Despite establishing a lead in the first quarter against both C-G and Hoffman Estates, the Raiders failed to maintain the leads and were eventually defeated.
“We have to keep fighting as hard as we can, 100 percent, all the way,” said Ream.
Though the outcome was disappointing, the team’s performance in its first match-up against C-G is reassuring. The Raiders maintained a lead for three full quarters and were able to keep the score tight for the remainder of the game.
“If we’re playing the way we know how to play, we are capable of playing with anybody,” said Raethz.
The sophomore and freshmen teams have had a great deal of success. The sophomore team holds an overall record of 14-5, and 5-2 in the Valley division (as of Jan. 26). Coached by Sarah Haney, the team went undefeated in both the Waubonsie Valley and Bartlett tournaments. The freshmen hold an overall record of 12-7. They took first place in the DeKalb tournament and placed second in the Huntley invite.
“The girls are starting to show real good improvement on the defensive aspect of the game,” said head coach Tim Essig.