Larkin edges Barrington for Hinkle title
When two high caliber teams face each other, it is often the small details that end up making the difference.
Such was the case Tuesday night when Barrington and Larkin squared off in Hinkle Holiday Classic championship game at Jacobs. Going into the title game, both teams had only lost once this season. The Royals capitalized on their free-throw shooting to win the first-place trophy, 56-51.
Larkin last won the Hinkle Classic in 2014.
Although the Broncos sank more baskets than Larkin, 21-17, the Royals went to the line 25 times and connected on 19. Barrington was perfect from the charity strip but only had three opportunities.
"In a game like this one, the differences are so small, it's one play here, one play there," said Larkin coach Deryn Carter. "They are a great team. We did just enough."
With 24 seconds left to play and leading by only 3, Larkin's Jamarion Stubbs sank the most critical free throws, converting both ends of a 1-and-1 that sealed the victory.
"Those were huge," Carter said.
"It was two teams that played really hard, and they made some plays at the right times and we couldn't recover," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker.
Larkin (14-1) jumped out to a 14-9 lead after the first eight minutes.
Barrington (11-2) outscored Larkin 20-16 in the second quarter and pulled within one point just before the half 30-29 on a Daniel Hong 3-pointer just before the buzzer. The senior guard finished the night with 10 points.
The Broncos took a 32-30 lead after a minute of play in the third quarter. Will Grudzinski opened the period's scoring with a three-point play. He converted a steal into a layup and then made the ensuing free throw. Grudzinski scored a team-high 19 points.
Barrington pulled out to a 37-33 lead halfway through the period. Larkin rallied and retook the lead 40-37 on a Jacob Blakely trey. The Broncos tied it again at 40-all on an Evan Baptiste bucket.
Damari Wheeler-Thomas scored three of his game-high 25 points to close out the quarter giving Larkin a 43-40 advantage to start the fourth quarter.
Wheeler-Thomas, a North Dakota State commit, continued his one-man run in the fourth quarter, scoring Larkin's first three points of the frame on free throws awarded when he was fouled attempting a 3-point shot and widened Larkin's lead to 46-40.
Wheeler-Thomas and teammate Fernando Perez (11 points) were named to the all-tournament team. Hong and Grudzinski were also honored. Grudzinski was a unanimous choice.