Burlington Central's girls basketball team looked unstoppable for 3 quarters Saturday night. The Rockets opened a 22-point lead after 24 minutes, then survived a Hampshire comeback for a 49-37 nonconference win on Pack the Place night in Burlington.
Alison Colby scored 11 points and Samantha Pryor and Rebecca Gerke added 9 apiece off the bench to lead the Rockets' balanced attack as BC snapped an 11-game losing streaking against its longtime rival that dates back to Dec. 5, 2007.
Hampshire trailed 41-19 heading into the fourth quarter. But the Whip-Purs turned up the defensive pressure, which led to some transition baskets and allowed the visitors to whittle away at the deficit. Jen Dumoulin led the comeback, scoring 10 of her 12 points during the fourth quarter.
Emma Benoit added 9 points, and Lizzie Panzica had 8 points and 12 rebounds for Hampshire (0-8).
"We earned (the win) in the first 3 quarters," said Central coach Mark Smith. "We're kind of young and we've got to learn how to play against pressure a little bit but I was really proud that we got that big lead and we hung onto it."
"We scouted their team. We knew how hard they play for 4 quarters, so we knew they were going to continue to play hard and come back."
The game was tied 6-6 before Colby scored 4 straight points and Camille Dela Cruz nailed a 3-pointer. That started a 15-1 run spanning the first and second quarters that put Central (7-1), which won its fourth straight, ahead 21-7. The Rockets never led by less than double digits after that.
"We usually play two really good quarters, but it's consistency that we're struggling with right now," said Hampshire coach Ed Haugens. "We had trouble with turnovers, taking care of the ball. We were flustered by the pressure. It's not like we don't practice this at practice."
The Whip-Purs turned the ball over 19 times in the first half while falling behind 29-11 at the break. Hampshire turned things around in the second half, committing just 8 turnovers while forcing 11.
Led by Panzica and Jen Dumoulin with 7 each, the Whips outrebounded the Rockets, 29-24.