A little stage fright, some early missed shots and way too much Elizabeth Nye sent the Burlington Central girls basketball team to its first loss of the season Thursday night.
Playing in the Charger Classic at Dundee-Crown for the first time, the Rockets fell behind Mother McAuley 22-7 midway through the second quarter and could never recover in a 57-41 loss in the opening round of the 31st annual tournament in Carpentersville.
"We knew we had to slow down (Nye) and we didn't," said BC coach Mark Smith, whose 9-1 team will face host Dundee-Crown at 2 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket. "She's got the ball in her hands all the time and she can hit the 3s. We knew she was a great player."
The 5-foot-6 Nye hit 5 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 26 points.
"She's the kid who runs the show for us," said McAuley coach Ashley Clanton, whose team faces Barrington in the 8 p.m. quarterfinal Friday. "What's so impressive about her is that she's become such a great decision-maker."
Both teams struggled shooting in a first quarter that finished with the Mighty Macs (10-2) leading 9-7. But Nye hit back-to-back 3s, then a 2-pointer, then another 3, and scored 13 straight points as McAuley opened up a 15-point lead with 2:57 left in the first half.
The Rockets battled back, though, and closed the gap to 24-18 by halftime as Sam Pryor hit 2 3-pointers and Shelby Holt made one, all in the final 2:09 of the second quarter.
Central trailed just 35-30 after a Holt free throw with 3:30 left in the third quarter and 39-32 after three quarters were complete but McAuley opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 48-32 lead with 5:34 left in the game. The Rockets would never get closer.
"I liked the second and third quarters," Smith said. "We battled back and made some shots. But then they steamrollered us in the fourth quarter."
Pryor and Holt each had 11 points to lead the Rockets, who were just 11 of 44 shooting, including 6 of 21 from 3-point range.
"We've said it before -- you live and die with the 3, and we do, but you also have to go inside and we didn't tonight," Smith said. "The effort was great but we were a little nervous in the first quarter. You want to be here but we were a little nervous; it's the big stage and we had a little stage fright. We'll see what our bounce-back is like (Friday)."
Clanton and the Mighty Macs weren't taking their Class 3A opponent lightly.
"We knew they had a nice run in the (state) tournament last year and had put together some nice wins this year," said the former Waubonsie Valley and DePaul standout. "There was no way we were taking them lightly."
Junior Alison Colby added 7 points and 8 rebounds for Central.
Barrington 62, Dundee-Crown 36: Jess Laboy had 15 points and Lauren Lococo added 8 for Dundee-Crown (5-11) in its opening-round loss at the Charger Classic.