ROCKFORD — Guilford made one of its first 12 shots Friday.

“We were cold at the beginning,” senior forward Sam Stewart said.

And in the middle too. The Vikings made only nine of their first 41 shots.

But not at the end. Guilford finally started getting to the basket and made six of its last eight shots to stun Huntington Beach (California) Marina 43-41 and finish 3-1 in the 205 Tip-Off Classic.

“I am real proud of our guys for sticking with it and doing it with defense at the end,” first-year coach Antonio Maestranzi said. “This was a big win for our program.”

Guilford had only one layup until its final basket of the third quarter. Then five of its last seven baskets were layups.

Some of that was because of defense, not offense, like when Joey Saunders made a steal as Huntington Beach (2-1) was trying to play for the last shot. Saunders then fed Jamil Jones for the winning layup with 4.8 seconds left. Jones was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw, which Saunders rebounded to end the game.

“I stuck my arm out, hit the ball and got it,” Saunders said. “I just ran down court and Jamil was there. We executed.”

“A couple of times we were able to turn defense into offense, like that last play,” Maestranzi said. “That’s key for us. And we had a little more patience about finding seams in their zone.”

Guilford shot only 6-for-30 on 3-pointers, but Nik Stadelman (12 points on four 3s) made a pair of 3s to begin Guilford’s comeback after trailing 32-27 early in the fourth quarter.

“That was key,” Maestranzi said. “We hit a couple of outside shots that opened up things inside. They had to respect the shooters.”

Saunders’ steal then ended it.

“That steal right there, that set it straight,” Stewart (10 points) said. “His steal, and getting his assist to Jamil, we had it in the bag then.” 

Elgin Larkin 72, Freeport 61

Larkin went on a 20-5 run in the last five minutes to wipe out a four-point lead for Freeport (0-3). Kijuan Burns scored 20 points to lead Freeport, which had an 18-7 edge in offensive rebounds but also got beat for many fastbreak points when it missed its own layups and saw Larkin shoot 24-for-30 on free throws.

“We have to get back on defense,” Burns said. “The layups hurt us. After our missed layups, they were out on fastbreaks already.

Guilford 60, Chicago Perspectives 45

Jamil Jones scored 17 points and Guilford started the fourth quarter with a 9-1 run to open up a 10-point lead. Jack Holmstrom added 12 points for the Vikings.

East 76, Larkin 49

Sincere Parker scored 20 points, Chris Burnell and Sha'Den Clanton 15 each and Andres Thompson 13 for East (2-0), which jumped to a 27-10 first-quarter lead over Larkin (1-2).

Matt Trowbridge: 815-987-1383; mtrowbridge@rrstarcom; @matttrowbridge