Boys basketball: South Elgin rallies for comeback victory over Larkin
Trailing Larkin by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, South Elgin's basketball team never stopped believing.
That strong mindset paid off, as the Storm (13-8, 10-1) rallied for a 58-56 Upstate Eight Conference victory over the Royals (9-12, 6-5) Thursday night in South Elgin.
After a pair of free throws from junior guard Jakob Blakley (28 points) put Larkin ahead 56-52 with 1:25 remaining, South Elgin senior guard Elias Cole Williams connected on a 3-pointer from the corner to trim the deficit to 56-55 with 54 seconds left.
"We needed one big-time," said Cole Williams, who scored a game-high 29 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers. "I think it was 'Harv' (teammate Sean Harvey) who dished it out to me. It was a very, very big result."
An even bigger result occurred a few moments later.
Larkin missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and the Storm got the ball down low to Harvey (15 points, 11 rebounds), whose subsequent 3-point play put the home team ahead for the first time since the midway point of the opening quarter, 58-56, with 32 seconds remaining.
After the Storm missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 11.8 seconds left, the Royals had one last chance to tie or take the lead.
Harvey, however, had other ideas, as South Elgin's big man blocked Blakley's last-second 15-foot shot in the final seconds, preserving the come-from-behind win.
"I got a piece of it," said Harvey. "It was a little easier to prepare for that (Blakley's final shot), but he's a great player and anything can happen."
"Blakley is a heck of a player," said Storm coach Phil Church. "The fact that he's got a whole another year -- the guy can flat out score. But you know who is getting the ball at the end of the game, and I've got one thing that not a lot of guys have -- and that's 6-foot-7 (Harvey).
"At the end of the game, 6-7 is hard to shoot over."
Victor Sison and Jake Tiaokhiao each added 7 points for South Elgin, which remains atop the UEC standings with Fenton (10-1).
"We've been through this time and time again," Harvey said of his team's second-half rally. "Just our last game on Tuesday, we were down 7 at Glenbard South and came back and won (43-36), so we knew we were capable of coming back and winning this one."
"That's about as close as you can get to a regional (tournament) finish," said Church. "The last half od the game was about guys persevering through it."
Adrian York had 11 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a pair of steals, while Javion Stewart added 6 points and 6 rebounds for Larkin, which was outscored 22-12 in the final quarter.
"Being up 10 in the fourth, we've got to find a way to execute down the stretch and press the right buttons as a coaching staff to get that win," said Royals coach Deryn Carter.
"That's twice now in two weeks where I think we did enough things to lose instead of enough things to win. It's disappointing but we'll keep rowing and get better from it."