Rockford East ousts Huntley
ROCKFORD — By the time Huntley found its stroke from 3-point range, it was too late.
Rockford East ended the Red Raiders' season Wednesday night with a 53-43 victory in the semifinals of the Class 4A Rockford East boys basketball regional.
The Raiders missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts in the first half as the E-Rabs built a 23-14 lead.
Huntley finally found its touch in the fourth quarter, as Jake Wagner hit 2 long-range shots and TJ Adams added another. Wagner's second trifecta made it 47-43 with under a minute left.
Wagner came up with a backcourt steal and got 2 more 3-point chances when Bryce Only rebounded the first miss, but couldn't connect.
The E-Rabs (17-10) made 6 straight free throws for the final margin.
"That would have been awesome to put a little pressure on them," said Huntley coach Marty Manning of the missed opportunity. "But to be honest, we lost the game in the first half."
Amanze Egekeze had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Only added 12 points, 9 boards and 3 assists for the Red Raiders, but no one else got involved until the fourth quarter. In fact, Egekeze and Only had all of the Raiders' first-half points.
"We missed a lot of threes, we missed a lot of layups, we had too many turnovers," Manning said. "We didn't play well enough to win. That's the bottom line. We've got no one to look at but ourselves."
East took control with an 11-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to go ahead 17-6. Huntley (17-9) never led, but the Raiders never let the E-Rabs get comfortable, either. Huntley closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run to get within 33-30. But East scored the first 7 points of the fourth quarter to rebuild the double-digit margin.
Tony Evans, Jr., scored 16 points for the E-Rabs, who will face NIC-10 rival Rockford Jefferson for the regional title Friday. Isaiah Box scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and created havoc defensively all game.
Led by Only and Egekeze, the Red Raiders outrebounded the taller E-Rabs, 30-27. But Huntley turned it over 23 times. Moreover, the Raiders sent East to the free-throw line 23 times, where the E-Rabs converted 15. By contrast, Huntley made just 2 of 3 free throws (all by Egekeze).
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