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Boys basketball: Old nemesis Geneva stands in Larkin’s way

Geneva's Mike Trimble passes ball over Larkin's Kendale McCullum during previous meeting between team's last month. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times

Geneva's Mike Trimble passes the ball over Larkin's Kendale McCullum during the previous meeting between the team's last month. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 7, 2013 11:03PM

Larkin travels to Geneva on Friday with a chance to lock up its first outright conference championship since 1993.

However, the task of beating the Vikings on their home court figures to be easier said than done considering the Royals are winless in eight meetings against Geneva since 2008.

Larkin (20-3, 9-2) already clinched a share of the Upstate Eight River title by virtue of St. Charles East’s loss at St. Charles North last Saturday. That outcome gave the Royals their first league championship since they shared the UEC crown with Lake Park and Neuqua Valley in 2006, but this time Larkin’s goal is to claim the prize all to itself.

“There’s a lot on the line,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “There’s some pride at stake because some of these seniors have never beaten Geneva. It’s a tough place to play, and on top of that it’s the Comcast Game of the Week. Lastly, it’s been a goal of ours to win the league, and that’s probably the most important part.”

The Royals have only one loss in their past 16 games, but it came at the hands of the Vikings in a 61-56 setback Jan. 19. Not only has Larkin lost eight straight in the series, but six of those defeats came by 11 points or more.

“I think we’ve got to get the game going at our tempo,” Carter said. “(Geneva is) good at some of our weaknesses, so it will be a challenge. It will be interesting to see how much we’ve improved in the last couple weeks.”

Rockets in thick of BNC East title race

Burlington Central’s 9-13 overall record isn’t all that impressive, but its 7-1 mark in Big Northern East games is good for a tie atop the conference standings.

The Rockets share the top spot with Richmond-Burton (8-12, 6-1), making Friday night’s game between the teams in Burlington critical to shaping the race for the championship.

It has been an up and down campaign so far Burlington Central, which started the year with seven straight losses and hasn’t managed anything better than a three-game win streak. But coach Brett Porto hopes being in the league title hunt will help his team sharpen its focus going into the playoffs.

“With each game having meaning down the stretch over these last four, it kind of gives it a postseason feel,” Porto said. “We’re still just trying to find some consistency, and over the last 10 days I think we’ve been playing some decent basketball.”

Friday’s contest marks the first of two meetings between Burlington Central and Richmond-Burton in a span of two weeks as the foes will collide again Feb. 22 in Richmond. Richmond-Burton won the BNC East title last year when it beat Burlington Central in a winner-take-all affair in the final game of the regular season.

Red Raiders continue FVC Valley dominance

Huntley can clinch its third straight Fox Valley Valley championship with a win at Dundee-Crown on Saturday night.

Making the accomplishment even more impressive is the fact the Red Raiders have been virtually unbeatable during their run at the top. They enter Saturday’s game on a 29-game win streak in FVC Valley games that dates to a loss against Jacobs on Jan. 14, 2011.

Dundee-Crown (16-5, 7-2) is in second place in the FVC Valley and figured to be the team with the best shot at dethroning Huntley entering the season. The Chargers lost to the Raiders 45-38 on Jan. 19, but they’ve bounced back with five straight wins since then.

Warriors heating up at right time

A number of local teams have enjoyed high levels of success this season, and it appears Westminster Christian was eager to join the bunch.

The Warriors are riding a seven-game win streak following last Saturday’s impressive 69-56 nonconference win against St. Francis de Sales. Westminster’s overall record now stands at 14-10, putting it in a group of 11 teams in the Elgin area sporting a .500 record or better.

This weekend the Warriors will try to continue their run of success at the Northeastern Athletic Tournament, which is being hosted by Christian Liberty. Westminster owns the No. 4 seed in the tournament and opens play against a familiar foe in fifth-seeded Harvest Christian (14-8). The Warriors defeated the Lions twice earlier this season.

Regional seeds announced

The IHSA announced postseason seeds for Class 3A and 4A on Thursday, and Larkin and Hampshire were the two local teams to earn No. 1 seeds in their respective regionals.

The Royals are the team to beat at the Class 4A South Elgin Regional, but they’ll have to navigate a field filled with familiar foes. St. Charles East is the No. 2 seed, St. Charles North is No. 3, Elgin is No 4., Streamwood is No. 5 and South Elgin is No. 6.

Hampshire is the top team at the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional. The host Rockets own the No. 4 seed in the five-team field.

Jacobs is hosting a Class 4A regional, and the Golden Eagles are the No. 3 seed. Rival Dundee-Crown landed the No. 2 seed, and Crystal Lake Central was tabbed as the top team among the six squads in the field.

Huntley is the No. 3 seed in the five-team Class 4A Rockford East Regional. Rockford Jefferson is the No. 1 seed.

The Class 4A Schaumburg Sectional is made up of 24 teams, and regional destinations won’t be announced until Friday when the IHSA releases the Class 3A and 4A pairings. Bartlett is the No. 7 seed in the sectional while Proviso East landed the top seed.

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