Larkin pulls away from Fenton in second half
It took three quarters for Larkin to tame Fenton for a 66-36 Upstate Eight Conference victory Tuesday night in Elgin.
The Bison hung with the Royals during the first two quarters, trailing only by six at halftime, 28-22. Fenton outscored Larkin 12-11 in the second quarter.
The Royals regrouped at intermission and opened the second half with a 12-2 run to take control of the game. Larkin led 45-31 at the end of the third quarter and put the game on ice in the fourth.
With the win, Larkin tightens its grip on first place in the Upstate Eight. The Royals are now 12-0 in conference play and 20-2 overall.
"Fenton was playing hard. I think there were a couple of bounces that they took advantage of (in the first half)," said Larkin coach Deryn Carter. "We got our hands on balls that turned into jump shots for them. Two or three possessions and I think the score would have looked a little different."
"I thought we did some good things in the first half, even though we were turning the ball over a little bit too much, we were able to handle their pressure," Fenton interim coach Tim O'Connell said. "It got away from us in the second half, but I'm proud of the way the kids fought."
Fenton (8-14, 4-7) coach Chaz Taft is on a leave of absence.
Larkin did not make any adjustments at halftime. Carter was pleased with his team's efforts and thought the game would eventually turn their way.
"It was a six-point game, but we felt like we were in control and the second half showed that," Carter said. "We were happy with the way the guys were playing and we told them to stick to it. It was a good team win."
"I think we started playing how should play on defense in the second half," said Larkin senior Dontrell Maxie. "In the first half, we got back-doored a lot."
Maxie scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Larkin did adjust to Fenton's 1-1-3 zone in the second half of the game.
"We were able to get some deflections and generate some points with our defense in the first half," O'Connell said. "But they are a really good team. In the second half, they were able to penetrate and knock out some shots on us."
Fenton's offense took a blow when Xavior Gonzalez had to leave the game early in the third quarter. The sophomore led all scorers with 14 points.
"He took a hard foul under the rim. He's a big part of what we do on both ends," O'Connell said. "He's our main ballhandler so that hurt us a little bit."
Jamarion Stubbs led Larkin scoring with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Damari Wheeler-Thomas tallied 12 points.
Larkin will take a break from conference play Saturday when it competes in the Orr Breast Cancer Shootout.
"We get to play Thornton. They are very, very good," said Carter. "Their record is good, but they are even better than their record because they lost some games when guys were out."