ELGIN – Free throws did not have much of impact in the first half of Friday night’s Upstate Eight River Conference game between St. Charles North and Larkin boys teams.
The North Stars did not go to the free-throw line in the first 16 minutes of the game while the Royals only sank two.
However, free throws were a major factor when it counted in the fourth quarter. Larkin scored its last 11 points of from the free-throw line to claim a 69-54 win.
Larkin closed the game on a 16-0 run.
“The game definitely slipped away,” said North Stars coach Tom Poulin. “We had them where we wanted them in the first half. I think our guys got pre-occupied with the foul situation and they let that creep into their heads.”
The game did not start out well for North (5-3, 2-1 UEC River), as starter Erik Miller collided with a Larkin player 30 seconds into the contest and dislocated his shoulder when he fell to the court.
Tyler DeMoss replaced Miller and made an immediate impact on the game, making the first two North Star baskets. The senior scored eight points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
North led, 13-10, after the first quarter. The North Stars held their biggest lead half way through the second quarter, 19-13, on a Jake Ludwig 3. The junior guard scored a team-high 22 points. Larkin (6-1, 2-0) rallied to tie the game at 27 at the end of the half.
“They wanted it more tonight than us,” Ludwig said. “They seemed to get every loose ball.”
With North only trailing by a point, 36-35, late in the third quarter, Larkin’s Kendale McCullum went on a personal 11-6 run to give his team a 47-42 lead at the end of the quarter. The senior led all scorers with 23 points.
“I expect our seniors to come through and finish games,” said Larkin coach Deryn Carter. “Today, it was Kendale.”
“We knew there would be a run the third quarter,” Poulin said. “I wasn’t pleased with the way we reacted. We reacted as if that was the end of the game and not the third quarter.”
The North Stars reclaimed the lead briefly at the 4:19 mark in the fourth quarter on another Ludwig basket, 54-53. McCullum answered with a 3-point play – a basket and a free throw to put Larkin back on top, 56-54. McCullum scored the last basket on Larkin’s next trip down the court to widen the Royals lead, 58-54. Four different Royals player then went to the free-throw line to score the final points.
Alec Goetz scored 15 points for the North Stars while Taylor Boley scored 12 for the Royals.