The list of accomplishments by last season’s Huntley girls basketball team is long, but at this point, it’s history and the program is treating it that way.
“We’re focused and hungry and definitely want to build off the success from last season,” said Red Raiders coach Steve Raethz, who is certain his team has targeted a new set of goals after finishing fourth in the state.
With four of their five starters back from a 26-8 squad — including Courier-News Player of the Year Sam Andrews and her 6-foot-2 sophomore sister Ali — the Red Raiders are concentrating hard on something Raethz’s program hasn’t accomplished: winning a title in the Valley Division of the Fox Valley Conference.
“It’s funny, but this is my 15th season, we’ve won five regionals in seven years, but haven’t won a Fox Valley title — we finished second six times,” Raethz said. “The last time we won conference was in the Big Northern (2003).”
Sam Andrews, the 6-footer who has committed to play at NCAA Division II Truman State, tied her sister for area scoring honors last year at 15.7 points a game and is just 48 points shy of 1,000 for her career.
“Both of their games have improved individually,” Raethz said. “From Ali’s standpoint, she has improved her shooting range and her ballhandling is better. They’re both very difficult to guard. They’re two very unique players in that they can play inside or outside.
“It gives us a lot of options.”
Senior Bethany Zornow, a 5-9 guard who has committed to Judson, 5-2 sophomore point guard Kayla Barreto and 5-5 junior guard Jessica Brock also return as does 5-9 senior forward Rachel Zobott.
Replacing graduated defensive ace Haley Ream is a priority, and Raethz said his team needs to get better overall on that side of the ball.
“Defensively, we’re a work in progress,” Raethz said. “As great as last season was, we realize we have to get better. Each season brings a whole new set of circumstances, new mix. We’re working on team defense and playing collectively better.”
Junior guards Katie Costantino and Kelli Rubino, junior forwards Margaret Miller (6-foot) and Megan Larson (5-10), sophomore guard Paige Renkosik and a pair of freshmen, guard Abbey Brown and 6-foot forward Morgan Clausen, complete the roster.
“Kayla and Beth (Zornow) are improved shooters, and Paige is another one who has really gotten better,” Raethz said. “Finding other scoring threats besides Ali and Sam is important right now.”