It would have been understandable for Larkin to have a letdown on Saturday at the Jacob’s Hinkle Holiday Classic. The Royals were playing for third place rather than first after an emotionally draining loss to Zion-Benton in the semi-finals on Friday.
But there was not even a hint of a letdown, especially at the outset. Instead the Royals came out fired up, jumping out to a 33-7 advantage and cruised the rest of the way to a 56-47 win over the host Golden Eagles. The Royals finished 4-1 in the tournament and improved to 13-2 overall.
“I thought we came out and left yesterday (Friday) behind us,” said Larkin coach Deryn Carter. “We wanted to complete the tournament in the proper way and I thought we did that.”
Derrick Streety gave the Royals an early boost with seven points in the first quarter. The senior guard finished with a team-high 13 points. Streety, Taylor Boley, and Brayden Royse had consecutive three-pointers during a 17-0 run late in the first quarter and early in the second quarter.
“We were still a little upset over the loss last night (Friday) and came out with a little bit of chip on our shoulder,” said Streety. “The way I have been struggling lately I feel like I have been letting my team down, so I really felt I needed to step it up today.”
Larkin will get a much needed rest after playing its ninth game in 16 days. The Royals went 8-1 during the stretch.
“I am as proud as heck of our guys,” said Carter. “When we made out the schedule we wanted to challenge them and I am really pleased with the way they responded.”
Jacobs (5-5) went on a 14-2 run at the end of the second quarter to trim the deficit to 35-23, but could get no closer than nine points in the second half.
“There is no feeling out process when you are playing a team like Larkin,” said Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts. “They are a very good basketball team and showed it early on. It’s good for our team to get taste of playing one of the top teams in the area. I thought once we took their initial hit and settled down we were able to compete. I think that is a big positive to take away from this game.”
Chris Orange had 18 points to lead Jacobs. Orange along with Ben Murray were named to the all tournament team for the Golden Eagles. Kendale McCullum and freshman Christian Negron made it from Larkin.