When Deryn Carter's Larkin Royals get key outside shots to fall from good penetration, turnovers, kick outs or on outlet passes, they can put a deadly run on you in a flash.
In a 3-minute span that bridged the first and second quarters, Larkin used that effort to create a 15-0 run and within that sequence, 3-pointers from Quantice Hunter, Quentin Ruff and Taylor Boley helped Larkin set the tone offensively and grab a 56-47 Upstate Eight River boys basketball win over Batavia in Elgin Saturday night.
Ruff finished with a game-high 19 points, draining 5 of 7 from downtown while Hunter finished with 12 points and 3 steals. Larkin (7-2, 3-1) nailed 8 of its 19 shots from the perimeter and also benefitted from Kendale McCullum's 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
"I knew it was 5-5, the next thing I knew it was 20-5; I did do that math," said Carter. "What we love about our guys is that they don't play for credit. They don't care about who leads the team in scoring, they look for a hot hand and look for the right play. And that makes you really tough to guard. We have five guys on the court who can really score because our teammates are willing to find them."
Larkin's trap and intensity forced Batavia off balance in the first half. The Bulldogs (12 turnovers) scrambled back in transition several times and Boley and Hunter nailed back-to-back 3s at the end of the first quarter.
Then it was Ruff, who didn't miss in the second quarter and had his teammates looking for him. After he drained a 3 in right wing with 5:27 left, Larkin was up 20-5. Batavia (2-5, 0-2) quickly answered with 5 straight points, but Ruff nailed a 3 from the left wing a minute later and then put Larkin up 13 when he sank another trey with 3:38 to go.
"We were just running the offense and I looked for my teammates to try to get me open noticing that I hit two 3s," Ruff said. "We have people that can make plays for others and the plays that they were making caused my man to jump off and that opened up shots for me."
That was also the case in the third when Ruff nailed his fifth 3-pointer from the left corner and when McCullum found Hunter for 3 more for a 14-point lead.
Larkin also owned the glass with a 38-29 edge in rebounding as center Daniel McFadden hauled in 15 rebounds to go with his 5 points. McCullum converted 3 of his 7 rebounds in the second half all for easy layups, adding another offensive weapon that the Bulldogs just couldn't handle.
"Every time we get the rebound, nobody is quick enough to stop us," McCullum said. "So we have to get a layup, every time it should be a layup (Carter) says."
Batavia's leading scorer, Micah Coffey, chipped in 14 points and 3 rebounds on 4 3-pointers. Ryan Olson added 10 points and 4 rebounds while Mike Rueffer had 9 points. Rueffer sank a 3 as time expired in the third, cutting Larkin's lead to 9 but that was story for Batavia the whole night, it just couldn't cut into the deficit.
"They do a good job doing what they do well," Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos said. "They take care of the ball, find the open player and hit shots. They do that real well and make you feel uncomfortable offensively and every time we made a run and I thought we'd get back in it, they'd drill you again."