ST. CHARLES – The Larkin boys basketball team’s ability to force St. Charles North to play a run and gun style of offense doomed the North Stars as they dropped the Upstate Eight Conference River game Friday night, 61-48.
“We fell into the trap and took the bait,” North coach Tom Poulin said. “The game turned into like an up and down, first available open three, take it. That’s not our style of basketball. We had a difficult time planning our game plan so it’s a credit to them for forcing us to play their style of basketball.”
“This a tough place to play, and we will take any win you we can,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. ”We used pressure to try and speed them up a little bit and I think our guards did a good job of that.”
Larkin scored on Quentin Ruff’s 3-point shot from the right wing on the team’s first possession.
North senior Tony Neari answered the bucket with a trey of his own on the North Stars’ first trip down the court to tie the score. Ruff, who led all scorers with 22 points, responded with his second trey to retake the lead for Larkin. The Royals stayed in front for the rest of the game.
“We were running our offense and a lot of things opened up for me,” said Ruff of his scoring, which included five 3-pointers.
“We wanted to execute and force them to play our style of basketball,” Poulin said. “We only did that in small spurts.”
One of the spurts came at the end of the half, when the North Stars pulled within three.
Larkin (6-2, 2-1 UEC River) had opened the second quarter leading 20-12 and widened the gap by 10 before North (4-2, 1-1) mounted a comeback.
Junior Alec Goetz scored three of his eight points with a basket at the top of the key two minutes into the frame to cut Larkin’s lead to 22-15.
Larkin returned the gap to 10 on another Ruff three-pointer. Ryan Thomas responded with a North Star trey from the right side to again narrow the deficit to three.
After Larkin junior Brayden Royse scored a layup on a steal, the North Stars responded with three straight baskets, two by Quinten Payne (17 points) and one by Kyle Swanson (seven points), to pull North within 27-24.
The North Stars ended the quarter still trailing by three, 29-26.
“We didn’t follow the game plan like we should have,” said Goetz about his team’s effort. “We took a lot of rushed shots that were unnecessary.”
North went cold at the start of the second half as Larkin scored eight unanswered points to widened the lead to 37-26.
Payne broke the scoring drought midway through the quarter with a basket underneath. The North Stars only managed seven points in the frame and trailed 43-32 to start the fourth quarter.