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(L-R) Larkin's Andrew Jones, Kendale McCullum and Quantice Hunter celebrate after beating Hononegah 74-71 in overtime at the Hoops for Healing Boys Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament at Woodstock North High School Saturday afternoon. November 24, 2012. |
Derrick Streety and Kendale McCullum might be the exception to the rule on a Larkin team loaded with shooters.
Yet the two guards stepped up offensively at precisely the right time Saturday to hit big buckets and deliver a 74-71 victory over Hononegah in overtime to the Royals for their second straight championship at Woodstock’s Hoops for Healing Tournament.
“Honestly, I talk to (McCullum) and Derrick about shooting more, shooting their jump shot and making the defense play them honest,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “They shoot better than they portray on the floor.
“They sometimes act like they can’t shoot, but you know what? Players make plays.”
The Royals (4-0) had 12 three-pointers, including six by Quentin Rough (22 points) and four by Quantice Hunter (18 points), but the two other guards made the scoring difference at crunch time at Woodstock North High School.
Streety scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to rally Larkin from a four-point deficit.
“I felt like things weren’t going as well as we planned, especially offensively we weren’t moving it all,” Streety said. “But then we started moving. When I hit the shots it started getting better and better.”
McCullum in overtime nailed the go-ahead three-pointer and a huge free throw to help the Royals again overcome a four-point deficit.
“I was wide open because they went to a triangle-and-two to take away our two best shooters,” McCullum said, referring to Hunter and Ruff. “So I knew I was going to get an open shot.
“I was wide open. I might as well shoot it.”
A Ruff trey, after they’d been down 71-67, cut the deficit to a point. Then two missed free throws by Hononegah scoring leader Jacob Doyle, who had a game-high 24 points, gave McCullum the chance to step up and nail the go-ahead trey. After a missed Hononegah layup and big rebound by Larkin’s Drew Jones, McCullum sank 1-of-2 free throws for the final margin of victory.
The Royals then sweated out a missed three-pointer by Jack Granath. Sweating it out was the correct term, because after Streety hit a free throw and Ruff four free throws in the final 1:23 of regulation to get Larkin up 64-61, Doyle canned a three-pointer from an inch or two away from the sideline at the buzzer against tight defense to force the overtime.
“They’re a good team,” Carter said. “They can shoot it, they can score it inside, they can handle it, they can obviously take it to the basket.
“Good teams are going to do things. You can’t take it all away from them.”
Much of the game the Royals denied Hononegah very little, as Doyle and Granath (19 points) got inside repeatedly.
“That’s probably my fault as a coach,” Carter said. “I was so worried about their jump shooting ability, our guys overdid it a little bit on defense.”
In the end, Hononegah’s shooting from 15 feet away wasn’t so hot. The Indians went 9-of-22 at the line to Larkin’s 16-of-22, and it made a huge difference in the outcome.
“This means a lot,” Carter said. “I know we won it last year but last year we didn’t play these guys — we won it on a tiebreaker.
“I know their coach (one-time Elgin High coach Mike Miller). We talked before the game and we were both looking forward to the game because you want an early-season challenge. They’re a regional championship-caliber team.”