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Larkin junior Kendale McCullum (middle) accepts the Elgin Tournament trophy from Elgin athletic director Paul Pennington as teammate J.D. Darke (left) celebrates Saturday. | Michael Jarecki ~ For Sun-Times Media
Larkin made itself right at home on its crosstown rival’s home court this week.
The Royals continued their rise to prominence by claiming the Elgin Tournament title, capping the event with a physical 60-51 win Saturday against the host Maroons in front of a big crowd at Chesbrough Field House.
Larkin (14-2) extended its winning streak to nine and put an end to Elgin’s run of thrilling victories. The Maroons won their first three games at the tournament by a combined four points but could muster no late-game magic against the Royals.
“We made history today,” said Larkin senior Quentin Ruff, who had a team-high 21 points. “This is the first time Larkin has ever won the Elgin Tournament, so this is really big.”
Matching the drama from Larkin’s double-overtime win against Elgin on Dec. 12 proved too much to ask as play trudged along with one foul call after another. The teams ended up combining to make more free throws (38) than field goals (32).
Arie Williams continued his huge week by posting 28 points and 11 rebounds for Elgin (9-7), but the Maroons put themselves behind the eight ball by committing eight turnovers in the first quarter. That helped Larkin build a 19-9 lead through the first eight minutes, and Elgin trailed by five points or more the rest of the way.
“I feel like we didn’t execute our game plan the way we really wanted to,” Williams said. “I felt like we turned the ball over by ourselves and it wasn’t really from any pressure. It was a sloppy first half, we got behind and we couldn’t come back.”
Eric Sedlack had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Maroons, but no other Elgin player was able to contribute more than two points.
On the other side, Larkin showed off its trademark depth as Kendale McCullum (11 points, eight rebounds), Derrick Streety (nine points), Quantice Hunter (eight points, three blocks) and Brayden Royse (seven points) all made significant contributions.
“We wanted to play ahead and put some pressure on them as opposed to the last time when the pressure was on us,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “I think our guys did a good job playing with a lead, keeping it there and finishing it off.”
Williams, McCullum and Hunter were all named to the all-tournament team. Elgin’s lead in the all-time series between the teams now stands at 79-42, with the third regular-season meeting coming up in Upstate Eight River play Feb. 1 at Chesbrough Field House.
“I think (Larkin) came out with more intensity than we did,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “I know we’re a scrappy team, and I guess we scrapped, but our execution was just off in every single thing we did.”
LARKIN 60, ELGIN 51
Williams 7 11-14 28, Sedlack 5 2-2 14, Butler 1 0-0 2, Dunnder 1 0-2 2, Bednar 1 0-0 2, Mari 1 0-0 2, Sitter 0 1-2 1. Totals 16 14-20 51.
Ruff 6 7-10 21, McCullum 2 7-10 11, Streety 3 2-2 9, Hunter 2 3-4 8, Royse 2 3-4 7, Jones 1 0-0 2, Boley 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 24-30 60.
Elgin 9 17 12 12 -- 51
Larkin 19 14 14 13 -- 60
Three-point goals -- Elgin: 5 (Williams 3, Sedlack 2). Larkin: 4 (Ruff 2, Hunter, Streety). Fouled out -- Elgin: Dunner. Larkin: Streety.