By Gene Chamberlain
It was a case of holi-deja vu for Huntleys Amanze Egekeze.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward did exactly the same thing against Crystal Lake Central Friday in the finals of the Jacobs Christmas Tournament that he did a month earlier to Dundee-Crown in the finals of Sycamores Strombom Thanksgiving tournament. Egekeze took control with his team struggling, got them the lead, and then the Red Raiders did the rest behind Bryce Only, Troy Miller, and Justin Frederick for a 55-49 victory.
The loss was the first of the season for Central.
Its always nice to have that type of talent on your team, Huntley coach Marty Manning said. He kind of got us back in the game.
Huntley (10-1) trailed by as much as eight in the first quarter, but Egekeze started working inside after the Red Raiders fell behind 19-13 early in the second quarter. He hit six second-quarter field goals in seven attempts to score 12 of his game-high 21 points then, and Huntley took a 28-25 halftime lead.
Once (Centrals) Kyle Fleck got two fouls, and we knew Amanze had a definite height advantage, we wanted to get the ball into him as much as possible and he took advantage of it, Manning said.
In the second half, Only and Frederick hit buckets right away to expand the lead to seven and it never got below four again.
I thought Troy and Bryce and Justin got our lead up for us in the second half, but without Amanze doing what he did in the second quarter, we probably would have been down eight at the half.
Miller had 13 points, Only nine and Frederick eight points and six boards. Only hit four straight points afer Central cut the deficit to 49-43 and then the Red Raiders were shooting free throws the rest of the way.
They were much more fundamental than we were tonight, Central coach Rich Czezlawski said. That and we didnt have an answer for Amanze.
Central (11-1) got got 17 points from Nick Marchetti and 11 points from Corbin Murphy.