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Elgin's Arie Williams tries to dribble past Larkin's Quentin Ruff during the first half Wednesday in South Elgin. | Michael R. Schmidt ~ For Sun-Times Media
Larkin refused to back down when faced with the unprecedented task of having to defeat rival Elgin for a fourth time this season.
The top-seeded Royals left no doubt about which is the top team in town by annihilating the fourth-seeded Maroons 74-52 in the semifinals of the Class 4A South Elgin Regional on Wednesday.
Derrick Streety led the way with 21 points for Larkin (22-5), which advances to Friday night’s championship game to play St. Charles North (18-10). Quantice Hunter added 18 points and six rebounds for the Royals.
“The first couple times we thought (Elgin) played hard with us and the games were closer than they were supposed to be,” Hunter said. “We wanted to show them one last time that we come out here to play.”
The first three meetings between the teams were all decided by nine points or fewer, but Larkin led 24-11 after the first quarter Wednesday and maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way. The Royals ripped off 13 unanswered points in the third quarter and led 67-33 early in the fourth before coach Deryn Carter started emptying his bench.
The outcome gives the Royals their first four-game winning streak in the crosstown series since the early 1990s and trims Elgin’s all-time lead to 79-44.
“Defense was definitely one of our objectives,” Streety said. “We wanted to stay on them the whole entire game.”
For the Maroons (14-14), the loss ends the stellar four-year varsity career of point guard Arie Williams. The 5-foot-9 standout finished with 15 points and ends his career No. 4 on Elgin’s list of all-time leading scorers behind Sean Harrington, older brother Armani Williams and Mark Baugh.
Isaiah Butler added 14 points for the Maroons, who also had their hopes of winning a third consecutive regional championship dashed.
“I feel like we had a raw team that a lot of people expected to not even get over five wins,” Williams said. “We had a lot of lows and a lot of highs, but when you balance it out we had a pretty good year.”
Quentin Ruff scored nine points and Brayden Royse added seven for the Royals. Streety gave Larkin a four-guard look in its starting lineup as he replaced junior forward Drew Jones, who is out with a knee injury.
“(Larkin is) more talented than we are, and a lot of things had to go well for us to compete,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “(Larkin) got every loose ball and just executed better.”
LARKIN 74, ELGIN 52
Williams 6 4-5 15, Butler 6 1-2 14, Moore 2 0-0 5, Dunner 2 1-2 5, Bednar 2 1-2 5, Sitter 2 0-0 4, Sanders 1 0-0 2, Douglas 1 0-2 2. Totals 20 7-13 52.
Streety 9 3-4 21, Hunter 6 3-6 18, Ruff 2 4-5 9, Royse 3 0-0 7, McCullum 1 4-7 6, Marshall 2 0-0 5, Barnhart 2 0-0 4, McFadden 1 2-3 4. Totals 26 16-25 74.
Elgin 11 10 11 20 -- 52
Larkin 24 18 19 13 -- 74
Three-point goals -- Elgin (5): Williams 3, Moore, Butler. Larkin: 6 (Hunter 3, Marshall, Ruff, Royse). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- Elgin: Williams. Larkin: None.