Brett Porto found some positive things to take out of Burlington Central's 75-73 overtime loss to St. Francis de Sales in the Leland Strombom Tournament in Sycamore Tuesday night.
Unfortunately, for the Rockets' coach, free-throw shooting wasn't one of those things.
The Rockets made just 17 of 38 from the charity stripe in falling to the Pioneers.
"What am I gonna do, yell at them to make more free throws?," Porto said. "They've just got to focus and relax. They've been doing this since they were in second grade. They're the one at the stripe. I'm sure they're gonna focus and figure it out."
Dan McCurdy's only field goal of the game sent it into overtime tied at 66.
In the extra session, the Rockets took a 73-71 lead after a 3-pointer by Bryce Warner tied it and a steal by Reed Hunnicutt led to a transition layup by Malik Harris for the lead. But de Sales responded with 2 buckets of its own to regain the lead.
The Rockets had a chance to tie, but missed 2 free throws with 4 seconds left. The Pioneers missed 2 of their own and McCurdy corralled the rebound, but he only had time for a wild, 80-foot heave that had no chance.
Harris scored 19 points to lead 4 Rockets in double figures. Moter Deng added 15 points, Warner finished with 12, and Duncan Ozburn chipped in 10. Hunnicutt finished with 9 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Central opened the second half with a 17-2 run to take a 46-36 lead, but the Pioneers chipped away, eventually taking a 56-55 lead on a 3-pointer by Derrick Dawson. The lead then changed hands 5 more times before McCurdy's wide open layup sent it into overtime.
The Pioneers got back in the game by forcing the tempo. The teams played at a hectic pace anyway and the Pioneers took it into hyper drive.
"They sped us up a little bit," Porto said, "Where we think we have a layup and we don't. We were right there on the verge of busting out, and if we could have just slowed it back down a little bit. I felt we were dictating pace to get us that 10 point lead and then it turned on us and we didn't recognize it quickly enough."
Tyler Streeter led 4 de Sales players in double digits with 19 points. Dawson finished with 15, Raashod Fenner had 13 points along with 11 rebounds, and Rontez Allen-Shabazz had 10.
Warner grabbed 7 rebounds and Deng 6 as the Rockets held their own on the boards. The Rockets 16 turnovers were noteworthy for a fast-paced overtime game early in the season.