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Larkin's Quentin Ruff goes for a layup against three Glenbard North defenders on Thursday in Elgin. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Glenbard North learned the hard way that keeping Larkin down for four full quarters is not an easy task.
The Panthers never trailed through the first 29 minutes of Thursday’s quarterfinal game at the Elgin Tournament and led by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter. Then the Royals turned on the jets, cranked up the defensive pressure and stormed to a 74-67 victory for their seventh win in a row.
Quantice Hunter scored 25 points to lead four players in double figures for Larkin (12-2), which turned the tide with a blistering 26-5 run during a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
“I feel our team can go on a run any time,” said Hunter, who sat out Wednesday’s first-round win with flu-like symptoms. “We typically don’t start off as bad as we did today, but this shows that if we do we can still finish strong.”
The Royals advance to play Batavia in the semifinals at 6:45 p.m. Friday, but it looked like their chances of winning the tournament title were slipping away as Glenbard North (3-6) extended its lead to 60-48 with 5:59 left.
Larkin responded with a 14-3 run to cut its deficit to 63-62 with 3:41 remaining. The Royals had also pulled within one in the third quarter, only to see the Panthers answer with seven straight points to regain a comfortable advantage.
This time, though, Larkin kept the pedal to the metal.
Kendale McCullum rebounded a Glenbard North miss and fed Hunter in transition for a layup that gave Larkin its first lead with 2:52 left. The basket made the score 66-65 and was part of a 12-0 run that continued when Kendale McCullum rebounded a Panthers miss on the next possession and went coast to coast for a layup.
Glenbard North wilted under the Royals press down the stretch as it committed 13 turnovers in the second half and made only one field goal in the last three minutes.
“We were playing the passing lanes, trying to get steals and trying not to gamble on things we couldn’t get,” McCullum said. “We just went after what we could get.”
Derrick Streety came off the bench to record 18 points, six rebounds and four steals for Larkin, which missed its first 13 three-point attempts and trailed 35-27 at halftime. McCullum added 13 points, seven rebounds and six steals and Quentin Ruff had 12 points.
Glenbard North’s fourth-quarter fade squandered a big game from junior Chip Flanigan, who scored 13 of his 25 points in the first quarter and also finished with 17 rebounds and four assists. Pasquale Fiduccia had 19 points for the Panthers before fouling out and Justin Jackson added 10 points.
“We missed I don’t know how many bunnies (in the fourth quarter), we missed open jump shots, we turned the ball over,” Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. “I give (Larkin) credit, they came back and beat us, but I’m disappointed with the way we finished the ballgame.”
LARKIN 74, GLENBARD NORTH 67
Glenbard North (3-6)
Flanigan 10 4-4 25, Fiduccia 7 1-1 19, Jackson 4 2-2 10, Gasiorowski 3 0-0 6, Fleming 2 0-0 5, Holbert 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 7-7 67.
Hunter 10 4-7 25, Streety 5 8-11 18, McCullum 4 5-6 13, Ruff 2 6-8 12, Royse 2 0-0 4, Jones 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 23-32 74.
Glenbard North 20 15 19 11 -- 67
Larkin 8 19 21 26 -- 74
Three-point goals -- GN: 6 (Fiduccia 4, Fleming 1, Flanigan 1). Larkin: 3 (Ruff 2, Hunter 1). Fouled out -- GN: Fiduccia. Larkin: None.