Barring a miracle at home Tuesday against Crystal Lake South, Huntley sophomore Ali Andrews will join her senior sister, Sam, in the 1,000-point club.
As big a night as that milestone and Sam’s final Huntley home game might be, it’s probably not surprising both sisters like to downplay the point totals or personal success. They’ve been focusing entirely on winning an 11th straight game and finishing the Fox Valley Valley schedule 12-0 — and it’s the way they’ve conducted business through the last two seasons.
“They’re both all about the team and winning,” coach Steve Raethz said.
To that end, the season has been a complete success for the Red Raiders’ sister act in their final high school season together. They clinched the FVC Valley title outright Saturday at Jacobs, their first conference title since 2002-03, and it was anything but an easy task as Cary-Grove, Prairie Ridge and South all gave Huntley battles.
“It’s been at times, tough,” Raethz said. “We’ve taken every team’s best shots. Night-in and night-out that’s happened. And that’s something our kids have had to get used to.”
Since the Red Raiders (22-3) finished fourth in the state last year, every opposing defense knew to focus on stopping 6-2 Ali Andrews and her 6-0 sister. The real problem for defenses is which one to shut down, because few teams have the ability to silence both.
The two were within a point or two of each other all season long after finishing tied at 535 points last year, and Ali (18.2 points) has finally surged a point a game ahead by outscoring Sam 110-77 over the last five.
“We’ve seen a lot of different looks,” Raethz said. “We’ve seen a lot of different zones this year, some box-and-one, triangle-and-twos and some 1-3-1 trying to slow Sam and Ali down.”
Both can shoot from inside or outside. Ali shoots 76 percent at the foul line, and until a 1-for-6 misstep a few weeks ago, Sam had been close to her target goal of 85 percent at the line — better at that point than any boys player in the area. They’ve shot within a point or two of each other percentage-wise from the field all year.
“All the teams are throwing multiple defenses at us because they want to mix it up on us,” Ali said. “So we just have to play as a team and run the offense right and play things out. If we just relax and play our game we’re all right then.”
Only Fremd, Young and Marian Catholic have beaten Huntley.
“It was a really good experience playing them,” Ali said. “Those were really good teams so we knew we had to work hard at practice every day in order to get to that level as a team.
“That was our plan, to play harder teams so we have more experience for later on.”
“Later on,” being next week’s regionals, and the Red Raiders are looking for a third regional title in four years and are seeded No. 1 at Rockford Jefferson, where DeKalb (18-7) is No. 2. With a title, Huntley would advance to the Class 4A Crystal Lake South Sectional, and the Red Raiders have beaten every other top regional seed in that sectional: Hononegah, Prairie Ridge and South Elgin.
“We’re definitely getting ready for regionals,” Sam Andrews said. “We need to get better at little things like helping on defense and communication.
“Really, we just need to get our teamwork down and keep going strong.”
With the Andrews sisters, it’s always been about “we” and team.