After winning a total of 4 games last year, Larkin's boys basketball team didn't waste much time in getting to 4 this season.
The Royals' fourth victory in as many games earned them the championship honors at the Woodstock/Woodstock North Hoops for Healing Tournament Saturday.
Larkin (4-0) finished the tournament tied with Belvidere and Rockton Hononegah with perfect 4-0 marks. The first tiebreaker was total points allowed meaning Larkin was going to have to limit a pesky Woodstock North (1-3) to no more than 46 points in Saturday's final game.
With a tough defensive stand, the Royals took a 62-45 victory over the Thunder to close out the tournament.
Hononegah had given up a total of 170 points, Belvidere 183.
With stiff defense and very aggressive rebounding from sophomore Drew Jones, the Royals held the Thunder to just 4 points in the final 5 minutes to clinch the tournament title.
"We calmed down and looked for good shots," said Jones, who was playing in just his fourth varsity game. "We just rebounded. We were playing great team defense."
North missed its final 7 shots and Jones netted 5 rebounds in the final quarter. He also added 5 of his team-high 14 points during that stretch.
Jones converted a 3-point play to extend Larkin's lead to 52-43 with 3 minutes, 18 seconds left in the game. North had battled back to cut the Royals' lead to just 49-43 with 4:02 left, the Royals' slimmest lead since early in the game.
"He plays harder than his years," Royals' coach Deryn Carter said of Jones. "He's playing well. This is his first week of varsity basketball, and we expect big things from him."
The Royals' offense exceeded expectations in building a 38-23 halftime lead.
Larkin likes to spread its offense around and it really didn't matter who was shooting the ball. Larkin shot a collective 69.5 percent (16 of 23) from the floor. The Royals used their hot offensive streak to jump out to a 38-23 halftime lead.
Jones went 3 for 3 in the first half and Derrick Streety (12 points) was 4 of 6. The Royals drained 5 of their 8 attempts from beyond the arc, with Quentin Ruff draining a pair of 3-pointers.
All five Larkin starters and Ruff finished with at least 8 points. Quantice Hunter scored 8 of his 10 points in the first half.
"We played team offense and passed the ball around," said Hunter, who added 6 steals and 4 assists. "The plays that we were running were opening things up."