Elgin, Larkin end City Classic on high note

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Behind a well-balanced offense and a staunch defense, Elgin routed Elgin Academy 58-25 as play wrapped up at the inaugural Elgin City Classic on Friday night at Elgin.

The Maroons (7-14) jumped out to a 9-0 lead, holding the Hilltoppers (8-10) scoreless until a Kaitlyn Pearson basket at the 2:45 mark of the first quarter.

From there, they built a 17-7 lead entering the second quarter into a 37-11 advantage going into the break as they dominated both ends of the floor in the first half.

The Maroons shot 17-of-36 through the first two quarters and forced 20 turnovers on defense, as they held the Hilltoppers to just 4-of-21 shooting.

“We’ve struggled lately, it was finals week and we weren’t practicing well so I challenged the girls and they came out and did a great job tonight,” said Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales.

Elgin built their lead to as many as 39, as an Abby Pierre-Louis (9 points) basket midway through the third quarter made it 50-11, and they were able to coast to victory from there.

Kristin Tayag led the way for the Maroons with 13 points, as 10 players total got into the scoring column for Elgin. Maggie Powers added 10 points, Jess Ramirez had seven points and five rebounds, and Tamara Milosevic pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Elizabeth Clements led the Hilltoppers with six points, and Alysson Wittmeyer pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

The win gave Elgin a second-place finish in the citywide tournament, as they finished 3-1 with their only loss coming to tournament-champion Westminster Christian. Elgin Academy went 1-3 to finish fourth.

The City Classic was the brainchild of Bumbales, and he was pleased with the way it played out in its first go-around.

“I was really pleased at the response from everybody and I think it’s something that has a chance to go on for a long time,” said Bumbales. “Hopefully we can get St. Edward in next season and make it a true City Classic, but overall really happy with how it turned out.”

In the early game, Larkin bested Harvest Christian 34-31, as they held off a spirited fourth-quarter comeback to escape with the win.

The Royals (3-16), or more specifically Quixmia Washington, scored the first 10 points of the game and it looked like they could run away with it early.

“Our mindset was to come out and see if we could press some points out of them, and we were able to do that, but credit to Harvest Christian they settled down and fought back to make it a tough one,” said Larkin coach Ruben Flores.

However, the Lions (2-16) chipped away at the lead and trailed just 19-14 at the end of the first half. They managed to keep things in reach from there, and entered the fourth quarter in striking distance down 26-18.

A 6-0 run by the Lions to open the fourth quarter, highlighted by back-to-back baskets from Rachel Oostdyk, trimmed the lead to just two. The Royals responded with a 6-0 run of their own though, and managed to hold on for the win.

Washington scored just two points on just 1-of-10 shooting after her big first quarter, but still led all scorers with 14 points to go along with six rebounds. Amber McGhee added nine points for the Royals.

Harvest Christian got 11 points from Kylee Knox, but she struggled through a 3-of-22 night from the floor. Oostdyk added nine points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Larkin finished the tournament with a 2-2 record for a third-place finish, while Harvest Christian went winless to finish fifth.

“I really like (the City Classic), Doc’s got a good thing going here,” said Flores. “There was a lot of enthusiasm, the kids liked it, and we can’t wait ‘til next year.”

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