ROCKFORD -- It was ironic that free throws ended up playing a huge role in Burlington Central's 42-32 double-overtime win against Rockford Christian on Monday.
Neither team even attempted a foul shot for more than 31 minutes, but Christian's Jaclyn Lindquist made the only free throw of regulation with 6.6 seconds left to force the first overtime.
Then, after going 0-for-1 from the line in regulation, the Rockets made 10 of 11 freebies in the extra sessions.
The Rockets went ahead to stay on Camille Delacruz's basket at the start of the second overtime, their only field goal in the final 12 minutes. They then made 8 straight free throws to finally ice the Big Northern East matchup in Rockford.
Samantha Pryor made the final 4 free throws, giving her a game-high 10 points. Delacruz and Kayla Ross each scored 9 for Central (16-4, 7-0). Alison Colby pulled down 8 rebounds.
Central outscored Christian 10-0 in the second extra period.
The Royal Lions raced out to a 12-4 advantage after one quarter. Central nearly doubled them up the rest of the way, outscoring them 38-20, but had to work every step of the way to finally secure the victory.
"They were ready to play," said Burlington Central coach Mark Smith. "I thought we came out a little slow. They caught us off guard and we had to scramble the whole night."
The Rockets pulled even for the first time at 15-15 on a 3-pointer by Pryor. An 8-0 run early in the second half gave the Rockets a 25-20 lead, but Christian scored 5 quick points to tie it again.
Alexis Landquist scored 9 points to lead the Royal Lions.
Early on, the Rockets couldn't penetrate the Lions' zone defenses. Central finally turned it to their advantage with a little inside-out game. With Rebecca Gerke (4 assists) passing the ball out from the post, the Rockets started knocking down 3-pointers. In fact, 6 of their 12 field goals in regulation were from 3-point range, with Holt and Pryor knocking down 2 apiece.
Leading 30-27 with four minutes left, the Rockets tried to take the air out of the ball, but a couple of ill-timed turnovers helped the Lions claw their way back.