The Larkin boys basketball program finally sent its January losing streak to the deep freeze.
It took nearly five years, but the Royals finally won another game in the midwest's coldest month.
Entering Wednesday's nonconference game at Woodstock, Larkin hadn't won a January game in five seasons, a stretch of 28 straight contests dating back to a 56-43 victory over St. Charles North on Jan. 26, 2006.
Thanks to a 4-point trip late in a tight ballgame, the Royals were able to end their dubious streak and pull out a 55-52 victory over the Blue Streaks.
"It feels really good," said 6-foot-5 Larkin junior Blake Grantham, who pulled down 8 rebounds. "At school, people have been asking, 'When are you guys going to get a win?' So it feels good get a win, and we still have three more (January) games at home."
The lead changed hands twice in the second half, the last time when Quantice Hunter gave Larkin (4-12) a 44-43 edge with a finger roll drive with 3:42 left in the game.
The Royals were still nursing a 1-point lead with just over a minute to play when forward Adarion Mahone cashed in on a Streaks' mistake. Woodstock leading scorer Mike Sutter, with the ball near midcourt, lost his balance and control of the ball. Mahone pounced.
"When he fell down I just kind of tapped it ahead," Mahone said. "Then it was off to the races."
The 6-foot-1 junior raced the other way for a layup and was fouled from behind by Sutter, his fifth.
Mahone missed the ensuing free throw, but 5-9 sophomore guard Vincent Sarangaya slipped in, grabbed the offensive rebound and scored to cap a 4-point trip that gave Larkin a 53-48 lead with 1:05 to play.
"He's sneaky like that," Mahone said of Sarangaya's clutch board.
"I just tried to help out so we could win the game," said Sarangaya, who led all scorers with 16 points and made 2 steals.
Woodstock (6-9) sank 3-of-4 free throws to pull within 2 points with 17.5 seconds left, but Hunter broke the Woodstock press, drew a foul and sealed the Royals' second win in two tries against Woodstock by sinking 2 free throws with 11.1 remaining.
Second-year Larkin coach Deryn Carter said he was impressed by his team's composure down the stretch.
"From the sideline to the players, that has not always been a strong point since I've been here," Carter said. "I'm known not to have much composure. But we did it as a staff and they did it as players."