Harlan turns it up in the second half to top Larkin
Updated: December 19, 2011 9:00PM
Larkin hung right with Harlan through the first half Monday, but the second half was an entirely different story.
The Falcons proved why they are considered one of the top teams in the city of Chicago by cranking up the defensive pressure and throttling the Royals down the stretch in a 56-38 victory in the first round of the Elgin Holiday Tournament.
Harlan (5-0) faced a 26-22 deficit at halftime, but the 18th-ranked Falcons used a 2-1-2 full-court press to harass Larkin’s smaller guards after the break. The Royals (6-3) finished with a whopping 28 turnovers and managed only 12 points in the second half while losing their third in a row.
“(Harlan is) a Chicago Sun-Times Top 20 team, and they showed us why in the second half,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “We were up there for a half, but we just couldn’t sustain it.”
Anthony Knight led the way for the Falcons with 19 points, eight rebounds and four steals. The 6-foot-4 senior was also at the center of a 10-2 run early in the third quarter that erased Larkin’s lead and changed the complexion of the game.
Knight scored eight points during the surge, including three baskets in span of 27 seconds as a series of Royals turnovers led to one easy basket after another. By the time the third quarter ended Harlan had a 43-33 advantage, and the onslaught continued in the fourth.
“I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” Knight said of his flurry of baskets. “Coach said to we had to bring the intensity the first few minutes (of the second half) and hit them in the mouth, and that’s what we did.”
Tory Pearson added 11 points and five steals for the Falcons, who racked up 19 steals in the contest. Harlan advances to play Neuqua Valley in the quarterfinals at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Larkin’s Quantice Hunter sank four three-pointers in the first half and finished with 18 points, but only two of those points came in the second half as the Royals went ice cold from the perimeter. Hunter also had four steals and three blocks.
Following a 6-0 start to the season, Larkin is now streaking in the other direction. The Royals will try to get on track when they move into the consolation bracket to play Rockford Guilford at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
“I think every team goes through its slumps, but we’re looking to pick it up tomorrow,” Hunter said.