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A very strong statement was sent booming off Rocket Hill Tuesday night, even if regular public address announcer Mark Einwich had to miss the game.
The Burlington Central girls basketball team is ready for the postseason.
The Rockets looked smooth in most every aspect of the game, they played with a full and healthy roster for the first time in the past couple of weeks and they ran past St. Charles North 53-32 in a nonconference win that tied the program record for wins in a season. The victory was BC's eighth straight.
"That was a pretty good game for us," smiled BC coach Mark Smith, whose team will now scout the opposition and prepare for next week's Class 3A regional on its floor. "I thought we were pretty consistent for 32 minutes tonight. I don't have to say much to these kids. They're rarin' to go."
Sophomore Alison Colby scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Rockets (23-4), who tied the school record for wins set by the 2006-07 team. It was the 6-footer's first start and just third game back after a bout with a concussion and she showed she's back to 100 percent, burning the North Stars (8-18) several times down low with what is becoming a patented hook shot move.
"It's been a tough season but I'm finally back in the groove," said Colby, whose 8 of 14 shooting led the Rockets to a 23 of 55 night from the floor that included six 3-pointers. "It's good to have everyone healthy. It's very important we're all here so we have the same flow we have in practice. We felt different tonight; we felt more comfortable seeing the open lane and making the open pass."
Colby scored 6 points while senior Camille Delacruz and freshmen Kayla Ross and Shelby Holt each hit 3-pointers in the first quarter to stake the Rockets to a 17-9 lead after 8 minutes. The North Stars cut the lead to 20-12 2 minutes into the second quarter on a 3-pointer from sophomore Sam Novak.
The Rockets maintained their 9-point lead, 26-17, at halftime and then went on a 13-5 run to open the third quarter and extend the lead to 39-22 after the second of back-to-back baskets from 6-foot freshman Becca Gerke. St. Charles North would come no closer than 16 the rest of the way and BC's biggest lead was 23. The Stars were just 12 of 32 shooting and were outrebounded 39-18.
"Offense comes when you have good defense and we had a hard time on defense tonight," said SCN coach Colleen Backer. "The Burlington Central girls play very hard and we were far from our peak this evening."
Holt and Gerke each added 8 points for the Rockets, who gave themselves numerous second chances with 17 offensive rebounds and just 12 turnovers, even though they did only get to the free-throw line once all night.
"Defensively we kept (SCN) off the 3-point line and played pretty well," said Smith, who teaches at St. Charles North. "I thought Alison had one of her best games of the year tonight. She's gotta play like that the rest of the year. We've got some kids who can shoot but we'd like to get to the free-throw line more and we're working on that. I really liked what we did on offense tonight. We showed good patience."
Sophomore Nicole Davidson led St. Charles North with 11 points.
"Now it all depends on how we respond," said Backer, whose team plays at East Aurora Thursday on Upstate Eight crossover night. "You don't want to be playing like this at the end of the season. I have to believe we'll take this experience tonight, reflect, and learn from it."