Elgin junior Abby Pierre-Louis heeded her coach's words Friday night.
Pierre-Louis cleanly blocked a potential game-winning shot attempt by Larkin's Victoria Patterson with four seconds left in regulation, then the host Maroons put away their crosstown rivals in overtime, winning the Upstate Eight River girls basketball contest, 53-46, at Chesbrough Field House.
"Our coach told us no shots, no fouls," said Pierre-Louis of Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales' instructions during a timeout with eight seconds left on the clock.
"And that's what happened."
Pierre-Louis then scored 5 of her 9 points in the overtime as Elgin (3-4, 1-2) beat Larkin for the fourth straight time.
"That was a big block at the end of regulation," said Bumbales of Pierre-Louis, who had 4 blocks in the game. "The kids hung together. Even though Larkin had a couple of runs, in the end we hit our free throws when it counted and we did a good job of rebounding."
There were plenty of both to be had. Larkin (2-7, 1-3) made just 16 of 79 shots (20 percent), and the team combined for 107 rebounds with Elgin grabbing one more than the Royals. There were also 60 turnovers in the game, Elgin overcoming 37 of them to earn the win. Larkin was 0-for-24 from 3-point range.
"We weren't hitting the jumpers and we panicked," said Larkin coach Ruben Flores. "We made more mental errors than I'd have liked and we just ran out of gas. We settled for shooting a lot of 3s and we didn't have to."
Elgin led throughout. The Maroons took a 6-0 lead early and held the advantage through the first half, extending it to 27-17 before Larkin went on a 6-0 run to close out the first half.
The Maroons carried a 34-28 lead into the fourth quarter and still led 41-36 after a Maggie Powers basket with 4:21 left in regulation. But Larkin put together an 8-0 run to take a 44-41 lead on a Patterson basket with 1:57 left.
Elgin got a free throw from 6-foot sophomore Alisha Panthier at 1:46 and then a turnaround in the lane from Pierre-Louis with one minute left to tie the game. Larkin held the ball until there was eight seconds left, called timeout, and Pierre-Louis blocked Patterson's game-winning shot attempt to send the game to overtime.
"We were trying to set a screen for (Patterson) but (Elgin) converged on her and it was a tough shot to make," Flores said.
Powers, the senior who led Elgin with 15 points and 5 steals, put the Maroons ahead with a basket 26 seconds into the OT and Elgin never looked back. Larkin's only points in the overtime came on a Patterson putback at the buzzer.
"We knew what we had to do," said Pierre-Louis, who added 10 rebounds. "Our coach told us to stay calm and just play basketball and that's what we did."
In addition to the usual steady floor game from Powers, the Maroons got a boost off the bench from Panthier, who was called up recently to replace injured senior Tamara Milosevic. Panthier had 12 points and 16 rebounds.
"That's just her second or third varsity game and she did a nice job," said Bumbales of Panthier. "And Maggie Powers did the rest, handling the ball and hitting big shots."
Senior Jess Ramirez added 12 rebounds for the Maroons, who host St. Charles North today before heading to the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic at Wheaton North next week.
Patterson led Larkin with a game-high 19 points and 18 rebounds. Freshman Marlee Kyles added 13 points for the Royals, who play at Geneva today then compete in the Oswego East tournament next week.