Boys Basketball: Larkin, Elgin ready to collide
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com December 18, 2013 7:16PM
Larkin's Derrick Streety drives the hoop during a game earlier this season. The Royals visit rival Elgin on Thursday. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 20, 2014 7:44AM
Elgin’s 79-44 record in boys basketball games against crosstown rival Larkin underscores its dominance in the all-time series between the schools, but history shows that every once in a while the balance of power shifts to the west side.
The Royals certainly reigned supreme over the Maroons last season, sweeping an unprecedented four matchups between the teams. Granted, one of the games went to double overtime and another was decided by only two points, but the run of success against Elgin served as another sign of Larkin’s emergence as a basketball power in the western suburbs.
On Thursday the longtime adversaries will square off at Chesbrough Field House in the 124th meeting in the series. For the Royals, the contest represents the opportunity to extend their longest winning streak against the Maroons since capturing seven in a row from 1990-93.
“We have to do a lot of 4-0 years to catch up on the all-time series,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “Obviously last year was a little extraordinary playing them four times. It would be nice to get another one not because it makes it five in a row, but just because it would make us 1-0 against Elgin this year. As usual I expect it to be a great showcase for the city.”
For Larkin (7-1, 3-0 Upstate Eight River), the trip to play Elgin (3-6, 1-1) marks the first of three games in three nights.
The Royals turn around and play a key conference road game at Geneva on Friday and then tip off at the Jacobs Holiday Tournament on Saturday with a first-round matchup against South Elgin. In this case, there should be no concern about Larkin looking ahead to the rest of its busy stretch.
“Elgin is going to come out ready to play because it’s Larkin and we’re going to come out ready to play because it’s Elgin,” Larkin senior Kendale McCullum said. “We’re expecting a good punch, so we’ll have to punch them right back.”
McCullum and fellow seniors Derrick Streety and Drew Jones have taken turns in the spotlight this season for Larkin, with all three players scoring at least 23 points once in the past three games.
Freshman forward Christian Negron is part of a talented group of varsity newcomers filling key roles for the Royals, who are ranked No. 14 in this week’s Sun-Times Super 25 and count an overtime loss against defending Class 3A state champion Morgan Park as their only defeat.
“Larkin doesn’t have a lot of flaws,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “For me to point something out would be like saying a cheerleader has ugly toes. When it comes to offense, defense, taking care of the ball and rebounding, we just need to play well in all phases of the game.”
The Maroons are led by senior guard Isaiah Butler, who is averaging 21.8 points since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the first four games of the season.
Seniors Desmond Sanders, Ryan Sitter and Kiko Mari are also key contributors for Elgin, which will be looking for a jolt of momentum going into its own holiday tournament next week.
“(Elgin) is playing hard, and a couple breaks here or there and their record would look a lot better,” Carter said. “They’ve got some players that can really get going, so it will be a tough one, especially with it being at their place.”