HUNTLEY – Fortunately for Huntley, forward Zach Gorney ignored his recent shooting slump.
When Gorney was open during a couple of critical moments in the fourth quarter for 17-footers, he did not hesitate and buried both shots to tie the score against Jacobs.
After Gorney’s baskets, a driving layup from Riley Wicks gave the Red Raiders the lead for good in a 48-45 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division boys basketball victory Friday night.
Wicks’ bucket came as 6-foot-8 forward Amanze Egekeze, who had four fouls, was waiting to report back into the game. Egekeze then added a pair of free throws with 15.9 seconds to go, and Huntley (12-4 overall, 5-0 FVC Valley) grabbed a two-game division lead.
“Those were six huge points for us when Amanze was on the bench,” Raiders coach Marty Manning said. “I was really proud of those seniors for making plays.”
Manning said Gorney, normally an adept outside shooter, had made two of his past 20 mid-range jumpers (10 to 18 feet) and was ready for him to stop taking those shots. Gorney, however, had hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter that helped boost his confidence later.
“I found it at a good time I guess, started hitting when we really needed it,” Gorney said. “I hit it in the beginning of the year and I’ve been slumping toward the middle, but this is the first time I’ve hit there in a few games.”
Gorney finished with 16 points, while Egekeze had 15. Gorney’s second jumper in the fourth tied the score at 44 with 2:22 remaining. Wicks' driving basket gave the Raiders a 46-44 lead with 1:49 to go.
“They were defending Amanze and Zach from driving, and I saw a hole and took it,” said Wicks, whose shot was contested in the lane. “To pull this out was really big for us. We just have to keep doing business.”
Jacobs (9-10, 3-2) pulled ahead, 38-32, on a pair of Chrishawn Orange layups late in the third before Gorney’s 3 made it 38-35. The Golden Eagles led or were tied most of the fourth quarter.
“It’s hard to get over this one. We really wanted this one, on the road, trying to steal one,” said Orange, who led all players with 21 points. “We were really close today but just came up a little short.”
Jacobs had two shots to tie at the end. Ben Murray fired from the right corner and missed, but freshman forward Cameron Krutwig rebounded and hit Cory Boeckh, who drew two defenders behind the 3-point arc. Boeckh eventually worked himself free and launched a 3 that rolled out at the buzzer.
“Cam did a really good job,” Eagles coach Jimmy Roberts said. "He’s incredible as a freshman. He gets that offensive rebound and 90 percent of guys probably go right back up with the layup. His first instinct is to turn and look, and Cory did a great job fighting one up.
"It was a great effort, a great job by our guys.”