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Larkin's Quentin Ruff puts up a three-pointer against Batavia on Saturday. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
For the second night in a row, Larkin guard Quentin Ruff had the hot hand offensively.
The senior again hit five three-pointers, leading the Royals to a 56-47 Upstate Eight River win over Batavia on Saturday night in Elgin. Ruff finished 7-of-10 shooting and ended with a game-high 19 points.
“He can shoot it,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said of Ruff. “That makes us look good when they’re making jump shots. What I love about our guys is they don’t play for credit. They look for the hot hand and they look for the right play.”
Playing without starting point guard Derrick Streety, who missed his second consecutive game with a groin injury, the Royals (7-2, 3-1) asserted their dominance toward the end of the first quarter. That’s when Taylor Boley came off the bench and drilled a three, and Quantice Hunter (12 points) followed with a three-pointer of his own as Larkin took a 12-5 lead after one quarter.
Larkin built its lead to 20-5 with 5:27 left in the first half after a three from Ruff, completing an 18-0 run in which the Bulldogs went scoreless for a full eight minutes.
Larkin’s trapping set the tone as it forced five turnovers during the run.
“It was 5-5, next thing I know, there’s a timeout and it’s 20-5,” Carter said. “Anything that was going on on the offensive end while we were playing well centered around the defense. Even if it wasn’t a turnover, it was a quick shot where we got the rebound and the outlet.”
Ruff hit his third three of the second quarter with 3:05 left as the Royals took a 26-17 lead into halftime.
“I was just thinking to shoot good shots,” Ruff said. “There were times when they were just leaving me and I had to take advantage of that.”
Larkin shot 38 percent (18-for-48) from the floor, while the Bulldogs were held to just 30 percent shooting (18-for-48).
“At the beginning of the game it was at a slow pace and coach told us to step up defensively, and that’s what helped us build our lead,” said junior Kendale McCullum, who scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Batavia (2-5, 0-2) cut the deficit to 31-26 with 4:57 left in the third after a three-pointer from Micah Coffey, who finished with a team-high 12 points on four threes. However, McCullum responded by driving the length of the court for the basket and a foul, and Larkin had a 40-31 lead heading into the fourth.
“I thought we’d make a nice run and get back into it, and then they’d drill you again,” said Batavia coach Jim Nazos. “They do a good job doing what they do. They hit their shots and make you feel uncomfortable offensively.”
Daniel McFadden did his job in the paint, pulling down 13 rebounds to go along with five points for the Royals.
Luke Horton added 10 points and six rebounds for Batavia.