Larkin holds off Elgin in Sitter's finale
Larkin did just enough to survive. It wasn't always pretty, but the Royals' boys basketball team will be playing again on Friday.
Anthony Lynch scored 23 points, including a personal 8-0 tiebreaking run to open the second half, and Pierre Black hit 4 clutch 3-pointers, as the Royals outlasted Elgin, 50-43, in the semifinals of the Class 4A St. Charles North regional Tuesday night.
Larkin will play for the title against either South Elgin or the host North Stars, who play at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The game was the finale of Elgin coach Mike Sitter's 11-year run as head coach of the Maroons. Sitter, who will become the new athletic director at Hampshire on July 1, leaves Elgin with a 165-160 record.
Elgin (11-18) led 23-18 with time running down in the first half. But Black nailed two 3s sandwiched around a Daz Cooks free throw for Elgin to pull the Royals into a 24-all halftime tie.
Then Lynch took over. He scored the first 8 points of the second half to put Larkin (20-8) ahead to stay. Two more Black trifectas gave Larkin its biggest lead of the night, 39-28.
The Maroons refused to go away. A steal by Dan Toolsie led to a Tre Morris layup that made it 44-43. But Elgin would not score again, missing some wild shot attempts as Lynch scored the final 6 points for Larkin, which beat Elgin for the 16th straight time.
"We didn't come in here expecting it to be an easy game," Lynch said. "Elgin-Larkin is always pretty close. We've just got to get better, learn from this. It's about winning and surviving at this point."
Larkin coach Deryn Carter agreed that the style points don't matter at this stage of the season.
"Style points are in November, December, January, when you're worrying about the trajectory of how you're playing," he said. "Tonight's about winning. The last time we were in this gym, I told these guys, for a regional, I lost the most heartbreaking loss that I've had as a coach. And I'd much rather feel the way I'm feeling right now."
Elgin went down fighting. The Maroons led most of the first half, then battled back after falling behind by double digits in the second.
The Maroons committed just 9 turnovers while forcing 18, but they shot just 33 percent (18-of-54).
Toolsie led Elgin with 17 points and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Cooks finished with 12 points and Tre Morris added 10 off the bench.
For Larkin, Black grabbed 6 rebounds to go with his 12 points. Jalen Shaw was held to just 1 field goal and 5 points, but did pull down 11 rebounds. Kindrel Morris had 6 rebounds and 6 assists to go with 2 points.