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Larkin’s depth sinks Round Lake
By Marty Maciaszek | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 11/23/2012 8:09 PM

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Larkin doesn’t figure to sink when it looks for a depth charge this season.

The Royals exhibited their reserve strength on Friday afternoon in the third round of the Hoops for Healing Boys Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament. They improved to 3-0 as their top three players off the bench, Kendale McCullum, Brayden Royse and Taylor Boley, combined for 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 66-47 victory over Round Lake at Shipley Memorial Gymnasium in Woodstock.

“I’d like to say we have six starters but the IHSA won’t let us start six,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter joked of sixth-man McCullum scoring 7 points. “He does a great job off the bench with his energy.

“Our starters did a great job getting us out to a lead and that allowed other guys to play big roles and big minutes today. The bench played well overall.”

Senior guard Quentin Ruff had a game-high 15 points and hit three 3s and Quantice Hunter, who averaged 23.5 points the first two games, had 10 points. Six-foot-5 sophomore Daniel McFadden had 8 points and 6 rebounds while the 6-5 Royse had 8 points and Boley added 6 points as the Royals never trailed.

“The depth is going to help us a lot when it comes down to late-game situations,” Ruff said. “We need players to step up, shooters and big men.

“It’s a big help knowing if you can come out of the game, the team will still be the same or better.”

Round Lake (0-3) was even at 8-8 after 6-3 freshman James Mobley (11 points, 6 rebounds) hit a smooth driving pullup jumper. Larkin turned up its defensive pressure and took advantage of 7 turnovers in a 17-0 run.

“I thought we were good in that stretch and we were doing a lot of things that give us the potential to be a pretty good team, but we have to do it at a higher clip,” Carter said after his team committed only 9 turnovers and built a 55-31 lead with 7:03 to play.

“That’s a good team,” said Round Lake coach Jim Roberts, who got 10 points from his only senior starter, Mark Jennings. “I told our guys we’re going to follow them as the year goes on and watch how many games they win and where they’re seeded in their sectional. I hope our kids take some confidence from that.”

Roberts saw it Friday as junior Karnell Wright scored a team-high 12 points. The Panthers had only five of their 19 turnovers after halftime and none in the third quarter.

“I tell everybody we have a bunch of puppies and we’re kind of potty-training right now, but in the three games in this tourney we’ve made huge strides,” said Roberts, whose team finishes tourney play against Marian Central at noon today at Woodstock North. “I’m extremely encouraged and it’s the little battles we’re fighting right now as we try to improve. Our kids need to learn what it takes to compete.

“(Mobley’s) learning curve has been great. We have to understand it’s a little bit of a process and I know we all want it now, but if we continue to keep rolling we have a chance to be OK later this year.”

Larkin gets an opportunity to find out how much it has advanced in the last year when it faces Rockton Hononegah at 1:30 p.m. today.

“That’s a big one,” Carter said. “Hononegah does what they do and they do it at a higher clip. This next game will tell us a lot about where we’re at.”