Krutwig's performance against Larkin was definitely 'Elite'
Look out, Elite Eight.
Here comes one of the elite players in the state in Jacobs star Cam Krutwig, who put on a show for the approximately 3,000 fans packed into Elgin's Chesbrough Field House for Friday night's Class 4A sectional final.
Led by the 6-foot-9, 270-pounder, Jacobs dominated Larkin from start to finish in a 62-39 victory that puts coach Jimmy Roberts and his Golden Eagles one game from the state finals in Peoria.
Krutwig left with 2:36 remaining to a loud ovation from the Jacobs faithful as they voiced their appreciation for his 20 points, 24 rebounds, 12 blocks and 6 assists. That stat line helped the Golden Eagles earn a supersectional date with Fremd (30-0) at the Sears Centre on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
"I'm just happy we won this game and we're just going to keep going," Krutwig said at the end of his postgame interview session with a gaggle of reporters. "We're playing in the Sears Centre and that's a pretty cool thing to do."
Then Krutwig's eyes drifted as he soaked in his team's position on the precipice of qualifying for the state finals.
"One game away," he said with a determined look. "One game away."
Jacobs is one game away, in large part, because Krutwig put his large fingerprints on Friday's game immediately. Playing in the paint against 6-10 junior Jalen Shaw, a 16-year-old who was giving up 60 pounds to Jacobs' more experienced big man, Krutwig scored 3 baskets in the game's first three minutes and had 10 points in the first quarter to put his team ahead 14-4.
Shaw acquitted himself well considering who he was going up against. Larkin's big guy finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds, but Shaw couldn't offset his counterpart playing at the peak of his game. Few, if any, can.
"When Cam plays against size, when Cam plays against really good competition, whether it's on the AAU circuit, that's how he looks," Roberts said. "When he plays against a big kid like that and they're going to play him and they're not going to swarm him with three and double and he's able to operate in there? I mean, you saw him tonight. If there's a better player in the state of Illinois playing tonight ...
Roberts paused and shrugged his shoulders.
"There might be (a player) as good, but I don't know if there's one better," he said. "He just continues to step up in big, big situations."
It wasn't a one-man show, of course. Jacobs senior Mason Materna scored 11 points and junior guard Ryan Phillips had 20 points. But every player dressed in HDJ-signature brown jerseys appreciated the performance of their seemingly unstoppable leader.
"I heard (the crowd) chanting triple-double and I heard he almost had a quadruple-double," Phillips said. "He's a fantastic player. That's why he's a Division-I player. That's why he's going to Loyola. I've never seen anything like him."
Half of Phillips' 20 points came on run outs, the direct result of Krutwig getting a defensive rebound, turning, surveying and firing an outlet pass. That Krutwig trait brings a smile to the face of Loyola coach Porter Moser, who was on hand to watch one of his prized recruits.
"If you want to have a running program, he's the guy who starts the fast break," Moser said of Krutwig. "He's an elite passer. He's the best outlet passer that I've seen in many, many years."
While Moser is excited for Cam Krutwig the player to join his program, he's more excited about Cam Krutwig the person.
"I'm excited for him and the winning part of it because that's what he's about," Moser added. "Honest to God, we just talked with him and he's all about winning, talking about the sectional championship, what it means to the school. You love that about a kid. He never said a word about his stats and that's what you love about him."
Of course, when a player registers a triple-double his stats do the speaking for him.
Look out, Elite Eight.