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Article updated: 12/14/2013 10:22 PM
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Larkin storms back to beat Batavia
 

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Larkin storms back to beat Batavia

Kendale McCullum had to make an adjustment on the fly.

The Larkin senior had repeatedly beat Batavia defenders off the ball in the fourth quarter as the Royals sought to put the exclamation point on a staggering rally against Batavia.

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McCullum beat his defender with dribble penetration one final time, transferring the ball to his offhand and hitting a running floater with 62 seconds to play Saturday night in Batavia.

It would be the last of 50 field goals between the Upstate Eight Conference River rivals, and the Royals' Drew Jones capped his career-high effort of 24 points with 5.2 seconds to play at the free-throw line to ice the Royals' 69-65 victory.

In dropping its fourth straight game, Batavia (2-5, 0-2), which outscored Larkin 39-0 from beyond the arc, led 56-44 early in the fourth quarter after Micah Coffey drained his fourth 3-pointer.

"It all started with my teammates trusting me," said McCullum, who scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

The Royals were almost flawless in the final quarter, not committing a turnover while erupting for 27 points on 11 of 14 shooting from the field.

"I had a mismatch," McCullum said of his slashing drive that gave Larkin (7-1, 3-0) a 67-65 lead. "I saw the (Batavia) big man (Chasen Peez) try to take the charge. I switched the ball to my left hand. I do it all the time in practice."

Batavia would have three chances to either tie the game or potentially take the lead.

But Coffey had his slashing drive off a backdoor play misfire; 2 missed free throws were also crucial, and the Bulldogs' final chance for a tie ended with a miss from just inside the paint.

"That's a shot I wish I had back," said Coffey, who finished with 16 points.

The senior guard gave Batavia a 56-44 lead with the second field goal of the fourth quarter.

But Jones quickly equalized the 3-pointer with the first of two 3-point plays in the fourth.

Coffey hit the last of his five 3-pointers to restore the Bulldogs' double-digit cushion at 59-49, but McCallum and Jones refused to wilt.

The duo combined for 23 of the Royals' fourth-quarter points. The seniors had 3-point plays over a 28-second stretch that gave Larkin its first lead, 63-62, since early in the second quarter.

But Peez, who led Batavia with 21 points, hit the last of the Bulldogs' 13 3-pointers to tie the game at 65-65 with 1:34 to play.

Batavia, though, would not score again.

"We kept fighting and never gave up, no matter what the score was," Jones said. "You have to give (Batavia) credit (for its perimeter shooting)."

"The game was dominated in the paint," Coffey said of Larkin overcoming its deficit from beyond the arc.

He cited too many Larkin 3-point plays and second-chance points as the difference in the fourth quarter.

Batavia did not commit a turnover in the first half while hitting Larkin with a 27-11 run that gave the Bulldogs a 35-30 lead at the break.

"Once they started hitting 3s, it got contagious," Larkin coach Daryn Carter said of the Bulldogs' marksmanship.

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