Wilder, Ivy spark Larkin's win at Fenton in new roles

Up until about a week ago, Darnell Wilder had been starting for the Larkin boys basketball team.

Then Royals coach Deryn Carter decided to sit Wilder, but not because of poor play.

Rather the contrary. Carter wanted some spark off the bench, and that proved to pay off big time Friday.

Behind Wilder's 19 points - all in the first half, including five 3-pointers - the Royals beat host Fenton 59-37 to improve to 11-14 and 8-5 in the Upstate Eight.

Normally, being relegated to the bench would be a tough pill to swallow. But not for Wilder.

"I knew that when he told me he wanted somebody to come off the bench to keep the energy up and score points, I took that role very seriously," he said. "It's whatever it takes to win.

"I just want to win, so I got to do what I got to do. If he tells me to come off the bench, I come off the bench."

Wilder's first points was a 3-ball from the top of the key late in the first quarter.

He was just getting started.

Wilder scored Larkin's first 11 points in the second quarter as part of a 20-1 Royals run that essentially sealed the game early. He hit on four 3-pointers in that spurt, including back-to-back NBA-distance shots from basically the same spot on the floor.

"Just this week I took him out of the starting lineup," Carter said. "He's our captain. I just felt like with the rotations that we were having we weren't getting any scoring punch off the bench.

"What he needs to understand is because he's coming off the bench, we don't want anything different from him."

Another off-and-on Larkin starter, senior Armani Ivy, came off the bench to score 14 and grab three rebounds. He, too, was totally fine missing out on a start.

"(Coach) told me the same thing he told Darnell," Ivy said. "He told me I'm the most flexible player, I can come in for all five spots. I can come in for rebounding, I can come in for shooting the ball."

If there was a tough pill to swallow Friday, it was for Fenton, second place behind South Elgin in the Upstate Eight. The Bison fell to 18-6 and 10-3 in league, though junior Alejandro Diaz was stellar as usual, with 16 points and five rebounds.

Diaz led off a Bison 11-2 run midway through the third quarter that cut a 39-15 halftime deficit to 43-28 with 3:53 to go, and at that point, it looked just Fenton might have enough to pull back into the game.

Didn't happen, though senior Nicholas Tinajero added eight points and six boards.

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