The Burlington Central boys basketball team overcame a cold-shooting first quarter and eventually turned on the heat to defeat Hampshire 64-51 Saturday on Pack the Place Night in Hampshire.
Rockets' sophomore Luke McCurdy led all scorers with 20 points.
"We knew it was going to be a battle here tonight," McCurdy said. "We knew it was going to be tough without our starting point guard and that we were going to have to take advantage of our opportunities, so it was great to come here and get a win."
Burlington Central (5-1) head coach Brett Porto thought McCurdy made the most of his opportunity with starting point guard out with a hip flexor suffered in Friday's win over Rock Falls.
"He (McCurdy) forced a few turnovers that helped get us into our offense and he knocked down some big shots for us tonight," Porto said. "He's a very good guard. He got his opportunity tonight and ran with it."
McCurdy scored the Rockets' first points of the game on a 3-pointer, but points were tough to come by during the first quarter after that. The Rockets appeared reluctant to put up shots early, and when they did, they didn't seem to fall. Meanwhile, Hampshire's shooters were facing the same challenges hitting their shots, but thanks to five first quarter Rocket turnovers and a pair of 3-pointers from Ajiri Oghale and Drew Doran, the Whip-Purs found themselves ahead 15-12 when the first quarter ended.
"Coming into this gym, I think we may have been a little timid (to take shots)," McCurdy said. "But then we started getting the hang of it come the second half and really played our game."
Porto credited the defense, and indicated that the new starting lineup may have taken some time for all of the players to get used to at the start of the game.
"I thought our defense kept us in it early tonight," Porto said. "I think not having our starting point guard took us a little bit to get our rhythm, but once we got settled things started to roll a little bit better for us offensively."
The Rockets' cold shooting woes evaporated in the second quarter, as McCurdy (8), Jacob Schutta (6), and Reed Hunnicutt (4) combined for 18 of the Rockets' 20 second quarter points for a 32-24 halftime lead.
McCurdy and Schutta added 5 points each in the third quarter to put the Rockets up 45-33 to begin the fourth quarter.
Hampshire's attempts at getting anything started fizzled fairly swiftly, and several players got into foul trouble forcing them to miss valuable time in the third quarter.
Hampshire (2-4) coach Bob Barnett believes that with more confidence and practice, his team should fair better as the season progresses.
"It's the same thing that happens every game," Barnett said. "We have a three-minute stretch where we seem to lose our minds. It's a learning process and they're all correctable mistakes, and hopefully we correct them. It doesn't help that we get outscored by 20 on the line, either. We just have to learn to play with more confidence."