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Streamwood's Joel Lightbourne (24) and his teammates celebrate after defeating visiting Larkin on Tuesday. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Streamwood dealt Larkin an early-season reality check Tuesday night.
A well-executed game plan for the Sabres combined with a cold shooting night for the Royals added up to a 56-53 upset victory for the home team in an Upstate Eight River clash in Streamwood.
The outcome knocks Larkin (4-1, 0-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten and offers further proof the Sabres are a force to be reckoned with this season. An effective zone defense and a patient offense were keys for Streamwood (3-2, 1-0), which ran its winning streak to three.
“If (Larkin) sped it up, we just stayed at our tempo, slowed it down and kept our composure,” said Streamwood senior Vince Williams, who finished with 12 points and four assists. “We know if we play our best we can compete with anybody in the conference.”
Neither team led by more than six points from start to finish, but the Sabres maintained a slim advantage for much of the second half.
Part of the reason Streamwood stayed in control was Larkin’s inability to make anything from long range. The Royals finished 4-for-32 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arc and were only 17-for-57 (29.8 percent) from the field on the night.
“It’s hard to break habits, and our habit is to catch and shoot,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “They were good shots, but they were just off.”
The score was tied when Jacob Siewert fed Williams under the hoops for a bucket that put Streamwood ahead 51-49 with 1:39 left.
The Sabres pushed their advantage to 55-49 thanks to four Siewert free throws, but Larkin charged back to within 55-53 on Drew Jones’ three-pointer with 31 seconds left. Siewert then missed an ill-advised three-pointer on Streamwood’s ensuing possession, but the Royals couldn’t capitalize as Quantice Hunter misfired on a three-pointer.
Zack Harris corralled his 12th and final rebound of the game on Hunter’s miss and was quickly fouled. Harris split his two free throws with six seconds left to make the score 56-53, and Hunter missed a three-pointer at the buzzer to seal the outcome.
“It wasn’t pretty at times, but we got the job done,” Streamwood coach Tim Jones said. “Sometimes we’re our own biggest enemy, but tonight I thought we did a good job sustaining what we wanted to do.”
Joel Lightbourne led the way with 14 points and Siewert added 12 points for the Sabres, who won despite committing 18 turnovers.
Hunter finished with a game-high 17 points for Larkin, which also got eight points and 10 rebounds from Kendale McCullum and seven points and seven rebounds from Drew Jones.
“It was a complete team loss tonight,” Carter said. “We didn’t have them prepared well enough obviously, and that starts with myself. It’s a good thing we play (Streamwood) again.”
STREAMWOOD 56, LARKIN 53
Larkin (4-1, 0-1)
Hunter 5 5-5 17, Streety 3 1-2 8, McCullum 2 4-6 8, Jones 3 0-0 7, Ruff 2 0-0 4, Royse 2 0-0 4, Boley 0 3-3 3, McFadden 0 2-2 2. Totals 17 15-18 53.
Streamwood (3-2, 1-0)
Lightbourne 7 0-2 14, Siewert 3 4-4 12, Williams 6 0-0 12, Harris 3 1-2 8, Norman 2 2-3 6, Strong 2 0-0 4. Totals 23 7-11 56.
Larkin 15 12 13 13 -- 53
Streamwood 14 15 10 17 -- 56
Three-point goals – Larkin (4): Hunter 2, Streety, Jones. Streamwood (3): Siewert 2, Harris. Fouled out – None.