Johnson leads Larkin past Elgin in UEC tourney
Welcome to March Madness, 2021 style.
Larkin and Elgin met for the second time in four days in a nearly empty Palace in the opening round of the Upstate Eight Conference tournament that has become the postseason for the league's teams.
The Royals 60-45 won at Chesbrough Field House last Friday and also won Monday's rematch at home, 49-22.
Larkin's Baylei Johnson was the only player in double figures for either team with 17 points. She grabbed 14 rebounds and also had a couple of blocks.
After a first quarter that saw as many combined turnovers as points, the Royals took control in the second period, outscoring the visitors from the east side 19-3.
"We were able to break Elgin's press," Johnson said. "We slowed it down and got it to the middle. We had more help for our guards getting downcourt."
Morgan Miller and Veloy Garcia scored 6 points each for Larkin, which ran its winning streak to 4 games. Miller also had 9 rebounds.
The Royals face top-seeded Bartlett Tuesday night at Bartlett.
An 8-1 run to close the third quarter got Elgin to within 34-21. Sabrina Moskow's free throw to start the fourth quarter made it 34-22. The Maroons got the ball back with a chance to get within 10 points but turned it over. Johnson made a layup off Miller's feed and the Royals proceeded to score the final 15 points.
"We played well in the third quarter," said Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales. "We had a chance to cut it under 10 and just couldn't get over the hump. The post beat us up again, they did a really nice job. They got some big buckets when they needed them and they're playing ball right now."
Elgin fell to 1-10 overall with one game remaining.
Jocelyn Bardesi had 6 of her 7 points in the first half for Elgin. Delfina Jorgensen made two 3-pointers in the third quarter to finish with 6 points. Jessica Nino grabbed 7 rebounds for the Maroons.