LOMBARD – Nick Carpenter heeded the words of his coach.
Burlington Central boys basketball coach Brett Porto yelled from the bench in the first quarter: “Keep shooting.”
The Rockets started ice cold against Glenbard East, missing 11 of their first 12 shots.
Better late than never, Carpenter took control.
He scored seven straight points in fueling a 14-4 run that pushed the Rockets to the 48-40 non-conference victory Monday night in Lombard.
“We knew we had to do more with our defense and our hustle because our shots were not falling,” Carpenter said.
With the Rockets (6-1) up just 32-21 to start the fourth quarter, the junior found his game at the ideal moment.
He connected on back-to-back drives in igniting the 8-2 run. Off a Glenbard East three-point play, Carpenter slipped to the left baseline and let fly a 3-pointer with 3:49 remaining.
Glenbard East (1-6) never got closer than seven points the rest of the game.
Carpenter finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Guards Gavin Sarvis and Zac Schmidt complemented him with nine points apiece. Guard Carson Seyller contributed eight points.
“In that second half I knew I had to take over and start shooting more and finding cutters back door against their pressure,” Carpenter said.
Burlington Central was also eager to get back on a winning streak after suffering its first loss Saturday against Neuqua Valley.
“We wanted to show that game was a fluke, and we are a good basketball team,” Seyller said.
The Rams failed to take advantage of Burlington Central’s 6 for 26 shooting in the first half.
More damaging, Glenbard East shot just 4 of 14 at the free-throw line in the first quarter, squandering a chance to establish an early cushion.
Glenbard East coach Al Biancalana, in his first year directing the program, said poor free throw shooting has been a dominant factor in the team’s slow start.
Senior forward LaDonus Rogers and guard Dylan Crowe scored 7 points apiece for the Rams.
Glenbard East managed a 19-18 lead at halftime.
Both teams showed greater offensive fluidity in a third quarter that featured six lead changes.
Two drives by Jack Rivas and a Rogers’ putback gave Glenbard East its largest lead at 27-22 in the third quarter.
“We struggle against physical teams and teams that drive the ball hard against us and hit the glass hard,” Biancalana said. “They got some second-chance opportunities, they had some direct drives and we were a step slow.”
The rich program is going through a rough transition. The Rams showed conviction and energy.
“We are just kind of finding ourselves right now,” Biancalana said. “When you take over a program, you need time and practice. Right now, we don’t have either of those.”