Kendale McCullum’s only field goal of the game was a pretty big one.
The junior, not necessarily considered one of Larkin’s top scoring options, made a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left in overtime to put the Royals ahead to stay. They held on to defeat Rockton Hononegah, 74-71, to win the Hoops for Healing tournament for the second straight year.
Quentin Ruff’s 22 points, including 6 3-pointers, led the Royals (4-0). Quantice Hunter had 18 and Derrick Streety chipped in 12, but none were bigger than McCollum’s 3-pointer.
Larkin led with time running out in regulation, but Jacob Doyle’s corner 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the game into overtime. The Indians then scored the first 4 points of the extra period.
Ruff’s 3-pointer made it 71-70 with 1:02 to play. After Doyle missed 2 free throws, McCullum put Larkin ahead. After a Hononegah miss, McCullum added a free throw for the final margin. The Indians had a final chance to tie, but Jack Granath’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was way off.
“During the game, I missed a wide-open shot that I should have taken, but I didn’t take it because I was just fresh into the game,” McCullum said. “But I was wide open because they went to a triangle-and-two on our two best shooters, so I knew I was going to get a shot. I was wide open, might as well shoot it.”
Larkin coach Deryn Carter wants to develop McCullum and Streety as additional scoring options.
“They shoot better than they portray on the floor,” Carter said. “They act like they can’t shoot, but, you know what, players make plays. Before being a shooter or a scorer, he’s a player.”
Doyle, who finished with 24 points, mostly on drives to the basket, and the rest of the Indians hurt the Royals with penetration for 3 quarters before the Royals’ interior defense stiffened.
“We were so worried about their jump-shooting ability, our guys probably overdid it a little bit,” Carter said. “They’re a good team. They can shoot it, they can score it inside, they can handle it. They can obviously take it to the basket. Good teams are going to do things. You can’t take it all away from them.”
McCullum finished with 8 points, mostly on free throws. He added 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Andrew Jones added 7 points and 9 boards for the Royals.
Granath finished with 19 points for Hononegah.
Larkin led most of the first half but could never pull away. Ruff hit 5 3-pointers in the first 16 minutes to keep the Royals in contention.
Hononegah used a 6-0 run to pull ahead in the third quarter. The Indians made 8 of 11 shots in that period while the Royals missed some open looks and connected on just 6 of 17. Still, Hononegah led just 45-44 after 3.
The Royals found the mark from the free-throw line, at least. The made 8 straight at one point to pull ahead 62-58.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.