ELGIN – An explosive offensive first-quarter effort put the Larkin boys basketball in control Friday night against Batavia.
The Royals burned the nets for 25 first-period points as they defeated the Bulldogs, 64-40, in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division contest.
Larkin (16-3, 7-0 UEC River) scored the first 12 points of the game. Batavia scored its first basket at the 4:35 mark in the first quarter on Danny Pieczynski’s 3-pointer from the right corner.
Reserve Ryan Olson scored the only other Bulldog points in the first eight minutes on another 3-pointer. The first quarter ended with Batavia trailing, 25-6. Olson led all Bulldog scorers with nine points.
Larkin controlled the glass and capitalized on Batavia turnovers to take control.
The Royals outrebounded the Bulldogs, 14-3, in the first half. Batavia turned the ball over 11 times in the first 16 minutes.
Guard Kendale McCullum led the Larkin attack. He scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the first quarter. McCullum also assisted two Christian Negron dunks with ally-oop passes.
“We came out and got jumped in the first couple of minutes. We gave up 25 points in the first quarter, and that’s just not going to work with what we want to do,” Bulldogs guard Micah Coffey said. “We allowed them to kind of bully us when we were on offense and we weren’t able to get into a rhythm.”
“The guys were ready to play. If you were to tell me this 24 hours ago that we would come out and play the way we did [in the first quarter], I would have been proud,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “Seeing it and being a part of it, I am more proud than I can explain. We are going through a lot with a lot of guys out, shuffling lineups. To have guys come who haven’t played a lot of minutes and perform at a high level is a real testament to how hard they work.”
Play in the second quarter was more even as Batavia (6-12, 1-7) scored 14 points to Larkin’s 18 and trailed, 43-20, at the half.
Both teams came out flat in the third quarter, which ended with Larkin leading, 51-25.
“We fought pretty well in the second half, but we’ve got to come out and play a full game,” Coffey said.
“Give credit where credit is due, Larkin is a very good team,” said Batavia coach Jim Nazos, whose team flirted with an upset over the Royals when the teams met in Batavia. “We got a lot of things to get better at. That’s it, plain and simple. That’s the only attitude we can take coming away from a game like tonight. The good thing is we play tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs host UEC River conference foe Elgin tonight.
Tucker Knox scored seven points for Batavia. Pieczynski scored six.