Larkin stays hot, shines in Hinkle opener

  • Johnsburg's Joe Wolff (1) and Larkin's Dontrell Maxie (22) chase a loose ball during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Johnsburg's Joe Wolff (1) and Larkin's Dontrell Maxie (22) chase a loose ball during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Larkin's Damari Wheeler-Thomas (10) heads to the hoop past Johnsburg's Joe Wolff (1) during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Larkin's Damari Wheeler-Thomas (10) heads to the hoop past Johnsburg's Joe Wolff (1) during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Larkin's Jakob Blakley pressures Johnsburg's Ian Boal during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Larkin's Jakob Blakley pressures Johnsburg's Ian Boal during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Johnsburg's Forest Hull, left, grabs for the rebound with Larkin's Armani Ivy and Donte Sharpe (2) during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Johnsburg's Forest Hull, left, grabs for the rebound with Larkin's Armani Ivy and Donte Sharpe (2) during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Larkin's Fernando Perez, right, takes a shot under heavy Johnsburg pressure during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Larkin's Fernando Perez, right, takes a shot under heavy Johnsburg pressure during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Johnsburg's Dylan Schmidt drives past Larkin's Fernando Perez (1) during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Johnsburg's Dylan Schmidt drives past Larkin's Fernando Perez (1) during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Larkin's Dontrell Maxie (22) takes a shot during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game against Johnsburg at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Larkin's Dontrell Maxie (22) takes a shot during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game against Johnsburg at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Johnsburg's Jacob Welsh (32) and Nicholas Thill, right, come up with the rebound during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game against Larkin at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Johnsburg's Jacob Welsh (32) and Nicholas Thill, right, come up with the rebound during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game against Larkin at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Johnsburg's Joe Wolff, left, takes a shot under pressure by Larkin's Dontrell Maxie during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

      Johnsburg's Joe Wolff, left, takes a shot under pressure by Larkin's Dontrell Maxie during Saturday's Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball game at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
By Dave Hess
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/18/2021 7:41 PM

Yes, Larkin's high octane offense is capable of scoring over 100 points every time it takes the court.

But through the early portion of the 2021-22 season, veteran Royals coach Deryn Carter has been impressed with the defensive effort.

 

That was on display Saturday afternoon.

Holding Johnsburg to 49 points, Larkin opened play in the 21st annual Hinkle Classic hosted by Jacobs with an impressive 87-49 victory.

Against Larkin's smothering defense, Johnsburg committed 25 turnovers. The Skyhawks made 16-of-61 shots from the field for 25% and 7-of-38 from 3-point range.

"We hang our hats on our defense," said Carter. "We made them take a lot of tough shots and we can live with that."

Leading 24-17 after one quarter, the Royals (10-1) took control of the game to start the second.

Larkin, making its first 5 shots of the quarter, scored the first 11 points to extend its lead to 35-17 with 5:45 left before halftime. Jakob Blakley scored 5 including a 3. Damari Wheeler-Thomas, a North Dakota State commit, along with Fernando Perez and Adrian York each had baskets during the pivotal run.

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Outscoring the Skyhawks 27-11 in the second quarter, Larkin held a commanding 51-28 advantage at intermission.

Perez with 6 assists and Wheeler-Thomas led the Royals with 20 points each.

Connecting on five 3-pointers, Blakley added 19 points for the winners. Armani Ivy came off the Larkin bench to score 10 all in the second half. Ivy was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.

"Our goal is to make defense into offense," said Perez. "That is always our game plan. We are a very unselfish team. If one of our teammates is open we get him the ball. Our goal is to be champions in this tournament."

Larkin won the Hinkle Classic in its last appearance in the tournament in 2014.

"We think of ourselves as the defending champions," said Carter. "Today was a good start for us."

Dylan Schmidt, who was 3-of-6 from 3-point range, paced the Skyhawks with 17 points while Joe Wolff added 11 with 3 treys.

"They are the best team we have played so far this season and will be the best team we will play all season long," said Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint. "They are a better team than us. They are so quick. I don't think they are 40 points better than us, This is something we can learn from."

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