Jacobs holds off Huntley for share of FVC lead
With each game, Jacobs boys basketball coach Jimmy Roberts enjoys watching guard Ben Jurzak and forward Treval Howard a little more.
"Our two guys were unbelievable tonight," Roberts said. "Ben's getting face-guarded and he still scored 18. He only got 10 shots, he didn't force anything, and Treval making all those shots.
"Every night is tough, it's nice to have those two guys. They literally put us on their backs."
Howard and Jurzak did not get a lot of scoring help, but also did not require it. Howard tossed in 19 points, while Jurzak added 18 and the Golden Eagles held off Huntley 48-46 in their Fox Valley Conference game Wednesday night at the Eagles' Nest.
Jacobs (4-4, 3-0 FVC) won its fourth consecutive game and is tied with Crystal Lake South for the FVC lead. Huntley is 6-2, 2-1.
Jurzak drove for a layup with 2:30 remaining to make it 48-44. Huntley's Omare Segarra cut the Jacobs lead to 48-46 on his drive to the basket with 1:10 remaining.
Jacobs wound up with the ball under Huntley's basket with 16 seconds remaining and the two-point lead. The Raiders forced a turnover and Segarra drove to the basket as time was running out. He passed to Lucas Crosby, who gave the ball back. Segarra missed on one attempt, rebounded and was fouled.
"Omare got the steal there was a quick discussion on the bench to call timeout, we decided to let them play," Raiders coach Collin Kalamatas said. "We had run a certain action a couple times before where Omare was able to get a full head of steam and get downhill."
Segarra missed the first free throw with 0.6 remaining and Huntley called timeout. Kalamatas inserted 6-foot-6 Logan Darragh and had Segarra try to miss the second, but the ball did not hit the rim and Jacobs was awarded the ball. The Eagles inbounded and ran out what time was left.
"The coaches told us if we stayed together we could get a stop and we trusted each other to get that stop," Segarra said. "I was thinking to attack. I knew they would foul me at some point and I could get to the free-throw line.
"They got a hand on the first one and I got a rebound and they fouled me. I have to work on my free throws."
Jurzak hit 7 of 10 field goals for Jacobs and Howard made 7 of 13. Huntley last led in the game at 33-32, but Howard converted three-point plays with 2:19 and 1:53 to go in the third quarter, then Jurzak made another with 1:21 remaining for a 41-35 lead.
"Us winning those last few games gave us a lot of confidence and we played the way we have to to get this win," Howard said. "There were some breakdowns by them and we executed our offense and did what we had to do."
Huntley kept chipping away and got it to 45-44 with 3:50 to go before Howard hit a free throw, then Jurzak drove for the decisive basket.
"I knew we needed to get a good look," Jurzak said. "I was getting a little denial in the corner, so I was conserving some energy, I had the ball at the top looking to score. I didn't want to turn it over, didn't want to take a bad shot, but I got a good look and finished.
"It's huge. Start off 0-4 against four tough teams in the Thanksgiving tournament. To be able to win these four, all at home, is huge for us. Now we want to keep building."
Bryce Walker led Huntley with 11 points. Crosby, Ethan Blackmore and Christian Wilson each added eight.
"It feels really good," Howard said. "The 0-4 start (at the Palatine Thanksgiving Tournament) had us down, but these past wins we're coming back and playing like the team we know we are."
Roberts is excited about the leadership Howard and Jurzak have demonstrated.
"To do it against a team like Huntley, who defends very well, and those two are going to be the focus of the other team every night," Roberts said. "That's the challenge of being a really good player and becoming a great high school player, when you're the focus and everybody's attention is on you, can you still go out and lead us and help us win a game?"