BURLINGTON – There wasn’t a 14-point lead surrendered in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime needed.
Even without starters Gavin Sarvis and Andrew Scharnowski, along with sixth man Jake Johnson, Burlington Central was able to avenge last Saturday’s gut-wrenching 56-54 overtime loss to Dundee-Crown in the final of the Strombom Holiday Tournament in Sycamore.
The short-handed Rockets, with great defensive intensity and balanced scoring, throttled the visiting Chargers, 53-33, in Fox Valley Conference action Friday night.
“That was a tough loss,” Central coach Brett Porto said. “The kids really responded with a phenomenal defensive effort. We put an emphasis on defense and rebounding and we did both well. We have some injuries but we have a lot of depth.”
Nick Carpenter, on 8-of-10 shooting, paced the Rockets with 16 points.
“That was a tough loss,” Carpenter said. “We really were motivated for this game. This was a big win.”
Matthew Lemon scored 11 points with a 3-pointer, while Zac Schmidt and Carson Seyller scored nine apiece for the Rockets (4-1, 2-0).
Schmidt, who absorbed a nasty fall on his back in the fourth quarter but returned to the game after a short stint on the bench, also grabbed nine rebounds.
“We learned from that loss to D-C,” Schmidt said. “We sped up too much in the last two minutes and made too many turnovers. We were really motivated tonight. We have a lot of injuries, but we have a lot of depth. We believe in next man up.”
The Rockets displayed their unselfishness with 15 assists on 23 baskets. Schmidt and Carpenter had five apiece and Seyller had three.
“We did a nice job of finding the open man,” Porto said. “We had good team play.”
Leading, 25-14, at halftime, Central started the third quarter on an 8-2 run to take control of the game. Seyller scored five, including a 3, and Trestan Wagner hit a 3 as the Rockets led, 33-16, with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Tyler Di Silvio paced the Chargers (3-2, 0-2) with seven points off the bench.
The Chargers knocked down 12 of 40 shots and committed 13 turnovers.
“It was not a fun night for the Chargers players, the Chargers coaches and the Chargers fans,” Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber said. “They kicked our butts on the boards.”