The emotions of Senior Night worked in Larkin's favor Friday night as the Royals came out with some extra energy and intensity and used it to fuel a 46-33 win over Elgin in an Upstate Eight River game played in front of one of the biggest crowds at any crosstown game in recent years.
Senior guard Victoria Patterson scored a game-high 18 points and added 6 rebounds and 5 assists for the Royals, who beat their crosstown rival for the second straight time this season after losing to the Maroons in overtime in their first meeting.
"It was a really emotional game. It's Elgin and it was Senior Night," said Patterson, who scored 12 of her points in the first half as Larkin ran out to a 28-17 lead after 16 minutes. "We had a lot of intensity and we wanted to get going fast. We played as a team and we played with a lot of fire. We wanted to put (Elgin) in a hole right away."
The Royals (8-15, 2-8), who also honored seniors Alyssa McGhee, Shawndre'a Hill, Sky Evans and Rachel Martinez, certainly did that. With the game tied 8-8 early, Larkin went on a 16-3 run bridging the first and second quarters to open up a 24-11 advantage after a Patterson basket with 4:50 left in the first half.
"We had the added advantage of Senior Night and we played with a lot of intensity tonight," said Larkin coach Ruben Flores. "We had a great practice (Thursday) and that really boiled over to tonight."
Elgin (6-16, 1-7) came out of the halftime break strong. Abby Pierre-Louis scored twice and Anna Eckholm hit a basket as the Maroons cut the deficit to 28-23 with 5:40 left in the third quarter. But Haley Casebeer hit 2 free throws and Patterson scored then made 2 free throws of her own to push Larkin's lead back to 11, 34-23, with 2:39 left in the frame. The Maroons got 2 free throws from Melanie Berg and a basket from Maggie Powers to make it a 34-27 gamer just 26 seconds later but Casebeer and freshman Marlee Kyles each made a free throw to put the Royals on top 36-27 entering the fourth quarter.
Elgin never got closer the rest of the way.
"We struggled offensively," said Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales, whose team shot just 12 of 48 from the field. "Defensively I thought we did a pretty good job. We wanted to hold them in the 40s. But they closed down the middle and took Abby away. They did a good job defensively. Things just didn't bounce our way. The thing we had done well against them before, offensive rebounding, they took away from us tonight and we didn't have any transition baskets."
Kyles added 9 points and 12 rebounds for Larkin as she and Patterson showed they continue to play well together in the backcourt.
"Marlee's like a little sister to me," Patterson said. "We practice a lot together and we're on the same travel team. We have a lot of chemistry."
Casebeer added 9 points and 11 rebounds for the Royals, who shot just 14 of 46 but won the rebounding battle 41-29.
Pierre-Louis led Elgin with 10 points and 8 rebounds, while Berg added 7 points. Powers and Eckholm each had 6 points for the Maroons.