Larkin hangs on to top St. Charles North
Jalen Shaw decided it was time to take over.
With Larkin struggling to score from the outside, the 6-foot-10 Shaw started attacking the basket. And it worked.
He scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half as the Royals edged the host team, 46-43, to win the Class 4A St. Charles North boys basketball regional Friday night.
Larkin (21-8), which won its second straight regional and third in the last four years, will play Rockford Auburn Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Jacobs sectional.
Shaw scored 10 points in the fourth quarter alone as Larkin held off the North Stars. Cade Callaghan's 3-pointer brought North within 44-43. Anthony Lynch and Victor Perez then added free throws for Larkin. Brendan Dal Degan had a good look to tie the game in the closing seconds, but his shot rimmed out. Zach Ludwig corralled the rebound and went back up hoping to get fouled, but his shot bounced off the rim as time expired.
"I started thinking to myself, 'I've got to do this for us,' " said Shaw, who also had 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks. "I have to do everything I need to do. I had to have 100 percent energy. I couldn't let anything go. So I didn't let anything go, I did every single thing I could do."
Shaw wasn't the only one who thought he needed to have a bigger role in the game.
"Our guys coming into halftime kept saying it, 'Keep getting him the ball, keep getting him the ball, keep getting him the ball,' " said Larkin coach Deryn Carter. "He was one of the best post players in the state down the stretch, for sure.
"The last two weeks we've been working heavily on it. Our guys bought in. Hats off to our guys, they bought into what we needed to do to win and they did exactly what we asked them to do."
The Royals trailed 31-29 late in the third quarter before going on a 10-2 run. Shaw capped it with a thunderous dunk that sent the Royals' fans into a frenzy and gave Larkin its biggest lead at 39-33.
Lynch added 15 points and Kindrel Morris added 7 for Larkin.
"(Shaw's explosion) makes it a lot easier," Lynch said. "If he's not looking to score, he's looking to pass the ball. He's an excellent passer, so we just have to cut."
The North Stars, who split their regular-season games with Larkin, knew what to expect from Shaw.
"We led 62 out of the 64 minutes in our two games against them," said North coach Tom Poulin. "We were confident in our game plan. In the first two games, we were allowed to guard him. You're going to sit on his right shoulder, he's going to barrel into you toward his right shoulder, initiate the contact. It's tough. I have nothing but respect for him and that whole team, but I felt we weren't allowed to guard him tonight. Now, they did a lot of really good things and they won the basketball game and they beat us, and we were one or two or three plays short."
Callaghan and Kyle King led St. Charles North (18-11) with 13 points apiece while Ludwig added 8.