Huntley’s Ali Andrews put her entire repertoire on display Friday in the Red Raiders’ opener at the Montini Christmas Tournament – long-range jumpers, mid-range jumpers, runners in the lane, free throws.
But it was her three 3-pointers in the first quarter that put Batavia in a hole from which the Bulldogs never recovered.
The 6-2 junior buried her first three shots from distance and finished with 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting to lead Huntley to a 43-37 victory over Batavia and into the quarterfinal against Montini at 4:45 p.m. Saturday.
Andrews, who averages a little more than 20 points per game, has been taking – and making – more 3-pointers this season.
“I’ve been working on my outside shot a lot over the years so it’s been incorporated into our offense,” Andrews said. “Last year, I wasn’t as confident. But now that I’ve been practicing it a lot more it’s been easier. It also makes me harder to guard. That’s how I look at it.”
Andrews scored the Red Raiders’ first 13 points and 22 of their 28 first-half points as Huntley (8-3) eased to leads of 15-5 and 25-13 before Batavia closed to within 28-19 at the break.
“The Andrews girl is a heckuva player,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “Those threes she hit in the first half were essentially the difference. I kind of turned and said if that’s how they’re going to win the game, I’ll give them that as opposed to last year when both her and her sister [Sam] killed us inside.”
Batavia (6-9) needed only four minutes of the second half to erase most of Huntley’s lead, however. A rebound basket by Hannah Frazier, a 3-pointer by Bethany Orman and a short baseline jumper by Morgan Erickson were part of a 9-2 run that got the Bulldogs within 30-28.
“They were mixing it up a little more defensively,” Huntley coach Steve Raethz said. “They started to do that at the end of the first half. They started to go some 1-3-1 and they did a nice job pressuring our guards more in the second half, trying to extend our offense a little higher than we wanted to initiate it.”
A basket by Kayla Barreto gave Huntley a 39-32 lead with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Orman’s three-pointer with 2:21 left got Batavia within 39-37. The Bulldogs would not score again, however. Two free throws by Huntley’s Morgan Clausen with 12 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.
“We had some ill-advised turnovers and ill-advised shots down the stretch and we need to clean up those things as the season progresses,” Raethz said. ”We have a lot of young kids who are filling some larger roles. That’s why we’re in tournaments like this. It’s a great opportunity for us to learn and grow.”
Frazier led Batavia with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Erickson added six points and Orman finished with a pair of 3-pointers.
“We did so many things right on defense, and on offense we were under control more than we have been in other games,” Jensen said. “We did so many really good things, they just didn’t pay out today.”