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Larkin's Quantice Hunter gets a lift from the fans after the host Royals defeated rival Elgin 76-73 in double overtime Wednesday night. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Nobody ever said it would be easy for Larkin to put an end to Elgin’s recent run of dominance on the basketball court.
It took two overtimes and a career game from senior Quantice Hunter, but the Royals finally came away with a 76-73 victory against the visiting Maroons in front of a big crowd Wednesday night in an instant classic between the longtime rivals.
Hunter poured in 32 points as Larkin (8-2, 4-1 Upstate Eight River) earned its first win against Elgin (5-4, 1-2) since 2009. Hunter’s big effort nearly matched a monster game from Maroons senior Arie Williams, who drained eight three-pointers and had a game-high 39 points in what is believed to be the first double-overtime contest between the teams. Elgin still leads the all-time series 79-41.
“It feels great to be at the other end of things,” Hunter said. “I was keying in on this one the most. It’s my senior year and my last time playing (Elgin) here in this gym. I really didn’t want to lose to them in this gym. I just gave it all I’ve got and we came out with the win.”
The Royals had lost five straight against the Maroons, but the streak technically stood at eight because Larkin had to forfeit its 2009 triumph.
Another defeat seemed to be on the way for the Royals after Williams led an Elgin uprising that saw the Maroons score 25 points in the third quarter to turn a 10-point halftime deficit into a 49-48 lead going into the fourth.
Larkin went scoreless for the first 5:41 of the fourth quarter, but it eventually sent things to overtime when Hunter scored on a layup in transition to tie the score at 55 with 20 seconds left in regulation.
Hunter added three layups in the span of 31 seconds in the first overtime to give the Royals a 61-57 lead, but Williams hit a step-back three-pointer with 15 seconds left to knot the score at 65 and force a second overtime.
Again it was Hunter stepping up in second extra frame, draining a three-pointer with 1:07 left to give Larkin a 70-69 lead it never relinquished.
“We all were a little fatigued, but I just wanted to push and not leave anything on the court,” Hunter said.
Missed free throws were costly for both teams as Larkin went 8-for-22 at the stripe and Elgin finished 12-for-25.
Eric Sedlack had 11 points and Tanner Bednar chipped in with five steals for Elgin, but it was Williams who stole the show as the lone returning starter from the Maroons team that won back-to-back UEC River championships.
“I feel like when it came down to the last two minutes our inexperience came out,” Williams said. “There were a lot of turnovers. It kind of got to us a little bit. I feel like the effort was there and the intensity was there, but basically the inexperience hurt us in the end.”
Sophomore Daniel McFadden tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds for Larkin. Kendale McCullum added nine points and Quentin Ruff had six points and five steals.
“(Elgin) is a lot better than people think, and they’re exceptionally better when Arie is playing that way,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “We threw the kitchen sink at them.”
LARKIN 76, ELGIN 73 (2 OT)
Elgin (5-4, 1-2)
Williams 11 9-17 39, Sedlack 5 0-0 11, Sitter 3 0-0 7, Dunner 3 1-5 7, Bednar 1 2-3 4, Mari 1 0-0 3, Butler 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 12-25 73.
Larkin (8-2, 4-1)
Hunter 12 4-10 32, McFadden 6 0-0 12, McCullum 3 3-6 9, Streety 3 1-4 7, Ruff 3 0-2 6, Jones 2 0-0 4, Royse 2 0-0 4, Boley 1 0-0 2. Totals 32 8-2 76.
Elgin 11 13 25 6 10 8 -- 73
Larkin 17 17 14 7 10 11 -- 76
Three-point goals – Elgin: 11 (Williams 8, Sitter, Mari, Sedlack). Larkin: 4 (Hunter 4). Fouled out – Elgin: Sitter. Larkin – Jones.