Larkin locks down Elgin in lopsided win
Not in the modern history of the Elgin-Larkin series has either team played defense as effectively as the Royals in a 68-31 home victory Friday.
The Upstate Eight Conference game was tied 12-12 after one quarter.
Then Larkin (6-17, 6-7) focused in and locked down.
The Royals limited Elgin (5-18, 1-12) to 2 second-quarter points and never looked back. They held the Maroons to a field-goal in 9 attempts, forced 5 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 11-8 to forge a 29-14 halftime lead.
"We weren't helping on D," Larkin senior Jashon Johnson-Neals said of the first quarter issues. "We thought we could play (man-to-man) one on one so they were scoring inside."
Said Larkin coach Deryn Carter: "We told them at the end of the first quarter that we were on our own agenda instead of worrying about what we need to do as a team to be successful. I was proud of the way they responded."
Elgin's 31 points represent the lowest scoring total for either team in series records dating back to 1990. The 37-point victory margin is also the largest for either team over that span.
"They didn't do anything we thought was special. It's completely on us," Elgin coach Todd Allen said after his team committed 18 turnovers and shot 28% from the field (12 of 43). "Executing has kind of been our problem. It's frustrating because there are spurts when these guys are really, really good. We're just having a hard time putting it together right now."
Ten Royals scored, led by Johnson-Neals and sophomore Jamarion Stubbs with 16 points apiece.
"I was trying to attack, make plays for my team, look for the open guy, look for open shots and play good defense," said Stubbs, who sank three 3-pointers off the bench.
Sophomore Fernando Perez Jr scored 9 of his 15 points in the third quarter as the Royals outscored Elgin 25-12 to build a 54-26 cushion.
No Maroon breached double-figure scoring. Junior Jeffery Lomax finished with 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The win was the third straight for Larkin against Elgin. The Royals won for the 18th time in 19 meetings to trim the all-time series deficit to 80-59.
More importantly, Larkin has won 5 of its last 8 games following a 1-14 start.
"We've got our players and we are a stronger team now," Johnson-Neals said. "I wouldn't overlook us."