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Article updated: 1/3/2014 11:08 PM
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Burlington Central passes up Harvard
 

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Burlington Central passes up Harvard
 

The holidays are over but the season of sharing continued for the Burlington Central boys basketball team in Harvard on Friday.

Thirteen of the Rockets' 25 field goals were assisted in a 60-47 Big Northern East victory over the Hornets.

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"That's our team," Central coach Brett Porto said of the we-first mentality. "When the ball touches multiple people's hands on a possession, we usually get a great shot. When it doesn't, we don't. They've recognized that for most of the year, but there are moments and periods in the game where it doesn't move quite as well. That's where we stall out at some points, so the emphasis in the second half was to do what we do."

Senior guard Sean Fitzgerald was a beneficiary of good ball movement against Harvard's 2-3 zone defense. The shooting guard connected for three of his four 3-pointers in the third quarter as Central (10-4, 2-1) turned a 35-27 halftime lead into a 52-34 cushion through three quarters.

"We know they sag a little bit in their zone," Fitzgerald said, "so we were trying to move it around for the open shot -- take it inside, kick it back out -- trying to get one person an open shot."

Central center Duncan Ozburn matched Fitzgerald's team-high 14 points, thanks also to crisp ball movement. Point guard Brett Rau found the 6-foot-9 senior open in the lane twice, as did senior guard Reed Hunnicutt. On one third-quarter sequence, Ozburn's four teammates touched the ball in succession as they swung it from left to right before passing it inside to him for an easy layup.

"That's what we need to do: reverse the ball, get everybody touches and get easy layups," said Ozburn, who blocked 2 shots and gathered 6 rebounds. "It's definitely easy to lose focus coming into conference after the tournaments and the holidays, so we just wanted to crack down, focus, get a win and move on to the next game."

The Rockets were focused defensively, limiting the Hornets to 7 points in the first and third quarters. Harvard (1-9, 0-2) made only 6 of 26 attempts from 3-point range (23 percent).

"If we would have hit a few of the open shots we had, it would have been a different story," Harvard coach Donnie Nolen said.

Harvard's best quarter was the fourth, when it capitalized on 7 Central turnovers to win the period 13-8.

"It's tough because this fourth quarter is what's going to stay in your mind the most when you leave here," Porto said. "It would have been nice to extend, but we turned it over too much. Other than that I thought we defended pretty well. All in all, for coming out here on the Friday after a little break for New Years, I was pretty pleased with at least three quarters of it."

Hunnicutt had 9 points and sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald contributed 5 points and 4 rebounds for Central, which hosts a key division matchup against Richmond-Burton next Friday.

Senior Fernando Carrera had a game-high 15 points, Justin Nolen added 12 points and Peyton Schneider had 9 points on the strength of three 3-pointers to lead Harvard.

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