ALGONQUIN – Sensing the reaction of Jacobs boys basketball coach Jimmy Roberts with 1:02 remaining, the outcome against Larkin might have seemed up for grabs.
Golden Eagles guard Kenton Mack dived on the floor for a loose ball and Roberts quickly called timeout. He walked halfway across the floor to congratulate Mack before heading to the huddle.
Jacobs was down by 12 points at that moment, but that wasn’t the point. Roberts wants his players, no matter what, to keep competing. And considering how the third-place game of Jacobs’ Hinkle Holiday Classic got started, the Eagles gained some satisfaction from the 56-47 final score Saturday night at the Eagles’ Nest.
Larkin (12-2) was on fire early and had a 22-5 lead in the first quarter, which it bumped up to 25 points in the second quarter.
“We tell them to compete, compete, compete,” Roberts said. “Fight until the end. I saw [Larkin] coach [Deryn] Carter when he started at Larkin and they were struggling, but they played hard like they do now.”
Jacobs (5-5) just dug itself too big a hole at the beginning, although the Royals had a lot to do with it.
“They were ready to play. They’re a good team and they were locked in,” said Jacobs guard Chrishawn Orange, an all-tournament selection who led the Eagles with 18 points. “It took us a while to settle in and play how we play. That first five minutes was pretty bad.”
Jacobs finished the first quarter with 2 of 12 shooting, but Orange and reserve guard Cory Boeckh, who hit two 3-pointers, help cut the lead to 35-23 at halftime.
“That’s a great team and they were making shots, that allowed them to jump on us in the first quarter,” said Eagles guard Kenton Mack, who scored 13 points. “We were getting the looks we wanted, we just weren’t knocking down shots.”
Derrick Streety led Larkin with 12 points and helped the fast start with seven first-quarter points.
“We were a little upset about last night [a 78-72 semifinal loss to tournament champion Zion-Benton],” Streety said. “We wanted to come out with a chip on our shoulder.”
Z-B (12-1) got 20 points from Milik Yarbrough and 14 from Admiral Schofield to beat Carmel, 61-49, for the championship.