BURLINGTON – Wheaton North crashed in on Zac Schmidt trying to trap him on his first pass.
Schmidt, Burlington Central’s senior, calmly dribbled out of the jam– who swung it to Carson Seyller – and then found Gavin Sarvis flying from left to right along the baseline.
Sarvis, from there, did what he perhaps does best. He finished at the rim for a thunderous fourth quarter alley-oop slam to put a capper on the Rockets’ 58-38 victory over Wheaton North on Saturday at Burlington Central’s MLK Tournament.
“On that oop, we got a good play call from coach [Brett Porto],” said Schmidt, who had 11 points and six rebounds. “Executed it really well.”
On the ensuing possession up the court, Schmidt let a smile show. Carson Seyller and Nick Carpenter followed that up with layups of their own for the quick 6-0 run to make it a 22-point game.
The Rockets, for all intents and purposes, commanded the game from opening tip. Burlington Central harassed Wheaton North for 14 turnovers with the regular rotation in play until the final 6:11, when Porto emptied the bench.
Burlington Central will face Lyons Township at noon on Monday for the Burlington Central MLK Day tournament championship. Wheaton North faces DeKalb for third.
“We’ve just been working as a team and we’ve been keep getting better,” Sarvis said. “We can have fun out there instead of always being behind on teams.”
Even with a vast lead, the Rockets continuously contested passing lanes, forced turnovers in traffic and played the suffocating style of defense Porto has instilled in them for the last number of seasons.
The Rockets’ (17-2, 8-0) will to win, evidently, can’t be turned off. They’ve won 12 consecutive games dating back to Dec. 15.
“[Porto] always says: ‘Up 20 or down 20, play with the same energy,” Schmidt said. “That’s what we’re doing out here and the past few games, we actually haven’t been doing that that well. So, starting last night, we started to do a lot of it. Today, for sure we were doing that.”
Wheaton North (4-11, 1-5) was playing its second game of the day, after earlier defeating Woodstock North 65-46.
“Obviously, [we were] a little bit overmatched against [Central],” Falcons coach Dave Brackmann said. “Our goal was in the first four minutes to be right there in the fight. We didn’t have a great first quarter, but we actually got into the fight in the second quarter. Then, things kind of spiraled there to close the second. Credit to them: they’ve got size [and] shooting.”
Wheaton North was paced by Rex Kroger, Jack Spears and Trey Bruni with six points each. Noah Froebe and Eamon Kane each had five points. Kane led with seven rebounds.
“I’m proud of our guys. That was our second game of the day; that was their first game of the day,” Brackmann said. “We knew that was going to be a tall task. Our guys have nothing to hang their heads about. We came out of here 1-1 today. Battled as well as they could have that game.”