Two different Larkin teams were on display Monday at the Hinkle Holiday Classic tournament at Jacobs.
There was the Larkin team that ran off 16 straight points to apparently take control of the game in the second quarter. Then there was the Royals squad that turned it over on 6 straight possessions to open the second half, letting Prairie Ridge back into the game.
But Larkin never let the Wolves gain the lead, holding on for a 62-55 win.
Kendale McCullum had 17 points and 7 rebounds and Drew Jones added 13 points for the Royals (11-1).
Jones scored 7 points during the Royals' big spurt that left them up 33-22 at halftime. But no trace of that Royals team appeared when the teams emerged from the locker room for the second half.
The Wolves had steals on 6 straight possessions, but couldn't fully take advantage of the Royals' largesse. A 3-pointer by Michael Bradshaw (18 points) keyed a 7-0 run to open the half but the Wolves couldn't get over the hump.
Larkin coach Deryn Carter had his entire second unit on the floor for a good part of the third quarter, and it helped right the ship.
Sophomore Keyvon Kyles hit a pair of hugs 3-pointers -- his only 2 shots of the day -- to keep Larkin on top.
"We started off the third quarter lackadaisically," said McCullum. "We weren't doing the things we were doing in the first half. We kept turning the ball over. Coach put the other guys in to calm us down. Then we came back in and played well."
Jones agreed that the Royals just needed an attitude adjustment.
"I think we just looked at the scoreboard and sat back a little too much," he said. "We knew what was wrong. It was done. It was over. We just needed to come back and finish it."
The Royals did eventually finish it, but not without a couple more glitches. With an apparently safe 55-43 lead in the fourth quarter, they watched the Wolves run off 9 straight points. A 3-pointer by Bradshaw made it 55-53. But a key bucket and then a free throw by freshman Christian Negron, who finished with 10 points and 3 blocks, gave Larkin some breathing room.
"We did enough to win, but we'd like to be playing a little better," Carter said.
Prairie Ridge coach Corky Card wasn't buying any moral-victory talk after the second-half comeback.
"We had good energy when we came out after halftime, but we didn't make them pay as much as we should have," he said. "We should have attacked the rim more and gotten to the free-throw line."
Payton Otto added 14 points and Steven Ticknor 11 for Prairie Ridge (6-4).