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Larkin's Quentin Ruff drives toward the basket as St. Charles North's Jake Ludwig defends Friday. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

St. Charles North managed to hang with Larkin for a half Friday before the Royals brought down the hammer.

Senior guard Quentin Ruff drained five three-pointers and scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to help Larkin pull away for a 61-48 Upstate Eight River road win against the North Stars.

The Royals never trailed, but their 29-26 halftime lead seemed precarious at best. Larkin (6-2, 2-1) gave itself some breathing room by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter, and then it put the game away with an 11-0 run that to led to a commanding 50-33 lead early in the fourth.

“We got a pep talk at halftime, and that really made us come out and handle our business,” Ruff said. “We just had to control the tempo and take care of the ball.”

The Royals excelled in both areas as their quickness and pressure defense gave St. Charles North (4-2, 1-1) fits from start to finish. The North Stars committed 19 turnovers while Larkin had only eight turnovers of its own.

Loyola recruit Quinten Payne tallied 17 points to lead St. Charles North, but he didn’t get much help from his supporting cast as Alec Goetz was next in line with eight points.

“We really had a difficult time of applying our game plan,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “That’s a credit to (Larkin) for forcing us to play their style of basketball.”

The Royals were without starting guard Derrick Streety as the junior was sidelined with a groin injury that will likely also keep him out of Saturday’s home game against Batavia.

Larkin’s depth made up for Streety’s absence as nine players logged extensive minutes. Senior Quantice Hunter finished with 11 points, junior Drew Jones added 10 points and junior Kendale McCullum did a little bit of everything while racking up seven points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals.

“When you have a starting point guard missing, everybody bumps up a spot,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “On the road in this environment, everybody answered in the bell. We’re proud of the way they responded for sure.”

LARKIN 61, ST. CHARLES NORTH 48

Larkin (6-2, 2-1)

Ruff 8 1-2 22, Hunter 5 0-0 11, Jones 4 2-2 10, McCullum 2 3-5 7, Royse 3 0-0 6, Marshall 1 0-0 3, McFadden 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 6-9 61.

St. Charles North (4-2, 1-1)

Payne 6 5-8 17, Goetz 3 0-0 8, Swanson 2 3-3 7, Ludwig 1 2-2 4, Hedges 1 0-0 3, Neari 1 0-0 3, Stanko 1 0-0 2, Pretet 0 1-2 1, Cotter 0 0-2 0. Totals 16 11-17 48.

Larkin                         17     12     14     16     --     61  
St. Charles North        12     14      7      15     --     48

Three-point goals – Larkin (7): Ruff 5, Hunter, Marshall. SCN (5): Goetz 2, Thomas, Neari. Fouled out – None.

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