Boys Basketball

Boys Basketball: Burlington Central bounces back in a big way against Crystal Lake South

BURLINGTON – Burlington Central returned to the win column with a vengeance Tuesday night on Rocket Hill, beating Fox Valley Conference rival Crystal Lake South, 67-45.

The sting of Monday’s loss in the championship of the Burlington Central MLK tournament, just the Rockets’ third of the season, clearly motivated them.

“We came off a loss yesterday and we just had a lot of fire,” Burlington Central junior Andrew Scharnowski said. “We had fuel left in the tank, we wanted to win that game yesterday and I think we brought that fire into today’s game.”

With the victory, the Rockets (18-3, 9-0) remained atop the Fox Valley Conference.

Central’s dominance on the boards also contributed to the win. The Rockets outrebounded the Gators 36-19 including 15 offensive boards that gave them multiple second-chance opportunities.

“We worked on our hustle and our rebounds today because we got outrebounded yesterday,” Scharnowski said. “Rebounds in coach’s eyes win games most of the time so we crashed the glass and do what we do.”

Scharnowski ended the night with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The two teams played close to even during the first eight minutes. Central led 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Crystal Lake South (10-9, 6-3) pulled within 17-16 on an Isaiah Kirkeeng bucket one minute into the second quarter. The senior scored a team-high 13 points.

But Central closed out the half outscoring Crystal Lake South 14-6 for a 31-22 lead at halftime. Gavin Sarvis started the run with a 3-pointer and Matthew Lemon ended it with a trey from the left corner. Sarvis led all scorers with 17 points.

“I thought in the first half, all second chance points were for them,” Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage said. “I thought we did a good job taking away their initial shots, but they got second and third chances and that was probably the difference in them having the lead to end the first half.”

Central pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Gators 19-8 to hold a 50-30 advantage to start the last quarter.

The Rockets’ pressure defense forced the Gators into taking risker shots. Crystal Lake South connected on 17 of 46 shots for a 37% shooting percentage. The Gators canned just two 3-pointers.

“It was an off-shooting night,” LePage said. “A lot of what they do forces you into tougher shots.

“We just didn’t make a lot of shots. We’re a decent shooting team and I think at one point we were zero for 12 or 13 from the 3-point line. We needed to make a few of those to withstand some of their runs and make a run of our own and it just didn’t happen.”

The Rockets bench knocked down four of the team’s five treys. In addition to Lemon, reserves Trestan Wagner, Nick Gouriotis and Nolan Milas scored from beyond the arc.

Arnav Jain tallied 12 points for the Gators.