Heroes are created in March.
Heroes like workmanlike South Elgin forward Jake Amrhein.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore scored 4 of his 6 points in overtime as No. 4 South Elgin stunned No. 1 seed Larkin with a 71-70 victory in a St. Charles North regional semifinal Tuesday.
Senior guard Darius Wells hit a 3-pointer to open the overtime and give the Storm (16-14) the lead, and Amrhein added to it with a drive through the lane followed by a putback with 1:57 left, staking South Elgin to a 67-61 lead.
No one even expected us to even be here," Amrhein said. "No one expected us to beat Elgin (in Monday's play-in game) and now we're out here pulling an upset against Larkin. It's a great feeling for our team."
Wells, who led all scorers with 25 points, then sank 2 free throws to bulge South Elgin's lead to 8 points with 41 seconds left.
Larkin (23-5) tried to rally with 3-pointers from Drew Jones and Derrick Streety, the latter of which trimmed the deficit to 69-67 with 20 seconds left. However, sophomore Matt Smith was fouled and sank 2 free throws with 16 seconds left.
The Royals pulled within 71-70 on another Jones 3-pointer with a second to play, but it wasn't enough for Larkin, which played without Upstate Eight River player of the year Kendale McCullum. He was suspended for a violation of team rules, according to coach Deryn Carter, who called it the toughest decision of his coaching career.
"Fact of the matter is we had one of the best regular seasons in school history and we were 0-1 in the postseason," Carter said. "It's disappointing."
South Elgin showed no fear from the start. The Storm took a 20-14 lead after a period as Wells scored 14 of his 25 points. Smith took over in the second quarter, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the period.
Larkin outscored the Storm 19-10 in the third quarter, helped by 7 points from Streety (12 points).
Smith tied the game at 60-60 in the final minute by driving from the right wing for a tough make in traffic. Streety had a chance to score at the end of the game, but he couldn't get a tough shot to fall against 6-foot-8 South Elgin sophomore Tyler Hankins and an improving Storm defense.
"This is the first time I've seen this team bounce back against a team supposedly better than us," South Elgin coach Matt Petersen said, "bounce back and fight when they didn't play like they could for a stretch."
South Elgin will face the winner of today's matchup between No. 2 St. Charles North and No. 3 St. Charles East for the regional title on Friday at 7 p.m.