Girls basketball: Larkin handles Woodstock
While many teams might talk about being a family, Larkin literally is.
Arizona-bound Marlee Kyles got her senior season started Tuesday night at Burlington Central's Thanksgiving Classic, and she had some new help that she knows very well in a 50-41 win over Woodstock.
The Royals started a pair of 5-foot-10 freshmen, Brianna Young and Aaliyah Dixon -- both Kyles' cousins.
"First game, everyone was excited, we have new people playing this year," Kyles said. "It's awesome. I came in as a freshman, I didn't have anyone to mentor me but I can mentor them and lead them in the right direction. They have talent and are going to go far."
Woodstock (0-1) started fast, sinking its first six shots from the field.
It didn't last. The Blue Streaks made just 5 of 32 shots the rest of the night.
"I told them they can't make every shot," Larkin coach Steve Knapp said. "I just said trust the zone, let them keep shooting, and good things happened. We started to get some steals out of it and running the floor. We're just conditioned well."
Larkin (1-0) also forced 28 turnovers while committing only 12. Nineteen of those turnovers came on Larkin steals. Kyles had 6 steals, and Dixon and Layla Wisser both had 3.
Kyles added 25 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists to those 6 steals despite not her best shooting game (9 of 24 from the field, 5 of 9 at the line).
She repeatedly beat Woodstock down the court either for her own drives or passes to open teammates.
"We're going to try to get the ball down as fast as we can," Kyles said. "We have a very athletic team."
Woodstock opened the game with a 10-1 lead; Kyles didn't start after missing a practice.
She entered with 5:22 left in the first quarter and immediately assisted Young on a basket, then banked in a 3-pointer, yet the Royals still trailed 15-6 after a quarter.
Kyles again found Young just before the halftime buzzer, getting the Royals within 21-19 at the break. Her floater early in the third quarter gave Larkin its first lead, 23-21.
Woodstock went on an 8-0 run to go up 29-25.
Kyles scored the final six points of the third quarter, taking a defensive rebound all the way for a layup at the other end, then nailing a 3-pointer as the clock hit 0:00 to put the Royals up 31-29 going to the fourth.
After a steal and layup by Haley Bohne gave Larkin a 35-31 lead, Young broke the game open with 8 straight points. Four of them came on layups, both assisted by Kyles, leaving the Royals in command at 43-31.
"I think the jitters went away," Knapp said of the final three quarters. "The freshmen were a little nervous, even Marlee was a little nervous. It's a new season, it's her senior year."
Young finished with 13 points.
"Brianna is an athlete," Knapp said. "She's a competitor. She's so athletic she sometimes does too much."
Gabriella Scolio led Woodstock with 14 points and Camryn Tafoya added 11.