April 21, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Sports Hall of Fame: Brotherly bond helped Elyria’s Adam Larrick blaze own trail

Ask any athletically gifted brothers and inevitably you’ll hear stories about the driveway, the backyard and the playground.

It’s the biggest competitive love-hate relationship out there and it certainly was no different for Adam and Brett Larrick.

“There were times after a hard practice we wouldn’t talk to each other for a couple hours,” Adam said.

Adam Larrick will join his brother Brett (Class of 2001) as a member of the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame tonight at Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Center. He’ll join Brooke Bader, Ken Fenik, Briant McLaughlin, Jan Sito and the 1973 Elyria High and Elyria Catholic boys basketball teams. The late Cooper Hudnutt will receive the Distinguished Service Award.

Adam followed his brother Brett from high school right through college at Charleston Southern and he’s still assisting with the basketball program at Elyria High.

“My goal was always to play Division I basketball,” Adam said of his decision to attend the same college as his older brother. “My mom and dad traveled so much and we watched so many of Brett’s games, I got familiar with the team. I got familiar with the coaches and I was offered a scholarship. I figured my mom and dad wanted to watch us (play together) so much.

“It was special for us. We both loved it down there.”

“A lot of my success is attributed to him,” Brett said. “Not everybody gets to play college basketball with his brother. My senior year (1997) he was put in a tough spot.

“Our senior point guard (Errol McPherson) tore his ACL near the end of the season and was out the rest of the year. Our coach (Tom Conrad) moved me to point for the last few games but brought Adam to start at the point for the (Big South) conference tournament. That was a big plus for me. Adam knew where I’d be on the floor.”

Adam did more than a creditable job filling in for McPherson. In the three-game tournament, he had 14 assists, nine rebounds and four steals as the fourth-seeded Buccaneers knocked out No. 5 Coastal Carolina, No. 1 UNC-Asheville and host Liberty, the No. 2 seed, to earn the school’s lone appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 10 points in the upset of regular-season champion UNC-Asheville.

However, as the 15th seed in the NCAA regional at Auburn Hills, the Bucs were humbled by UCLA in the first round despite 32 points from Brett.

Mike Wilson, now the golf coach at Charleston Southern, was the student public address announcer and Adam’s roommate during those days.

“We played in a shoebox,” he said. “The gym’s capacity was about 900 but they’d get 1,000 in there for our home games.”

The next two years, Adam led the Buccaneers in scoring with 417 and 535 points. He and Brett remain among the top career and single-season scorers and 3-point shooters in school history.

Adam had three head coaches at Elyria — Art Daniels, Paul Toth and Mike Walsh.

“We relied on Adam a lot,” said Walsh, the current Elyria girls coach who got the boys job at the last minute when Toth resigned. “He was our go-to person. He had a lot of natural basketball instincts and was such a competitor. He’d give up his own scoring to win a game.”

After a shaky start, the Pioneers, who had gone 19-1 as freshmen under Walsh, tied favored Sandusky for the Erie Shore Conference crown. It was the last time an Elyria boys basketball team won a league title.

“Coach Walsh and I like to remind Brett about that all the time,” Adam said with a grin. “We only had one year together but all we did was win championships.”

“I remember when we played at Lorain (a 63-55 loss),” Walsh said. “We played terrible and it left us three games behind. We got on a little roll and the kids bought into what we were doing. I think we won eight games in a row.”

Larrick led the team in scoring in all but two of those games and finished in double figures in each. He averaged 20.5 his junior year and 19.5 as a senior.

“I think it was the Midview game against Anthony (Stacey),” Larrick said of the tunring point of the season. “We were watching a tape that (teammate) Danny Martin’s mom made. I heard her say, ‘It’s about time Adam,’ and I know she didn’t mean to get on there to hear, but I agreed. It was about time. I might have been putting a little too much pressure on myself to try and lead, especially with Coach Walsh being in his first year.”

“I always remember Coach Walsh saying after we were three games down after the first half, ‘every (contender) has to come to our place,’” Larrick said. “If we don’t lose at home, we’ve got a chance.”

Larrick scored 21 as Elyria downed King and 30 in the rematch against the Blue Streaks. The Pioneers finished the regular season with a huge 60-59 win over Lorain in front of a jam-packed crowd at Elyria.

With time winding down, Larrick brought the ball down the floor. The Steelmen thought he’d be taking the final shot and had three defenders move toward him. However, Larrick threw a pass to Mark Gatewood for an open shot. Gatewood missed, but Brian Todd got the stickback for the win.

“A lot of players in that circumstance would have forced up the shot,” Walsh said. “Not Adam. He wanted to win and was able to make the right play. It was a great win.”

And this is proving to be a great year for Adam, who besides his Hall of Fame induction, will marry Avon girls basketball coach Meghan Banks in August. He also became an uncle for the second time with the recent birth of Brett and his wife Jenn’s son.

Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or at timothygeb@msn.com.

TONIGHT

• WHAT: 42nd Elyria Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet
• WHERE: Spitzer Center, Lorain County Community College
• TICKETS: Sold out