Saturday's nonconference meeting between the boys basketball teams from visiting Kaneland and Burlington Central on Pack the Place Night figured to be a close one.
The Knights were coming off a thrilling 1-point victory a day earlier against Morris, a team that defeated Burlington Central by 7 points two weeks ago at the Plano Christmas Tournament.
However, the Rockets turned it into a one-sided affair. Central shot 7 of 10 from 3-point range and 25 of 49 overall, won the rebounding battle 27-14, turned the ball over only 9 times and held Kaneland top scorers John Pruett and Tyler Carlson to 19 combined points in a 67-43 win.
The victory for Central (12-4) completed an impressive weekend sweep. The Rockets blew out Big Northern East rival Richmond-Burton 70-46 on Friday.
"It was a very good weekend for us," Central coach Brett Porto said. "Richmond-Burton was 10-3 and just won the Marengo Tournament. Kaneland was 8-4 and they're playing great basketball. They had 3 wins at Plano, they took it down to the wire with Geneva last weekend and they beat Morris. I mean, those are two quality teams.
"Hopefully, we set a standard for ourselves with how well we can play in the second half of the season."
Kaneland (8-5) turned the ball over only 11 times, but 42-percent shooing from the field (16 of 38), 47-percent free-throw shooting (8 of 17) and a 2-to-1 rebounding deficit doomed the Knights.
"Everything went wrong," said Pruett, who was limited to 6 points on 2 field goals. "We didn't shoot well, we didn't rebound. We did nothing right. We're not going to win games if we don't shoot and rebound and that's exactly what happened. We got killed."
Central guard Jacob Shutta was the best shooter on the court. The 5-foot-11 senior sank all 4 of his 3-point attempts and led all scorers with a season-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
"Guys were penetrating and kicking to me, giving me the open look," Schutta said. "Once that first one goes in, you just build the confidence and keep going from there."
Central led 14-10 after a quarter, paced by 5 of senior guard Reed Hunnicutt's 11 points. Senior guard Brett Rau scored 7 of his 12 points in the second quarter as Central moved to a 33-23 halftime lead. Senior center Duncan Ozburn (6-9) grabbed 3 of his 7 rebounds in the third quarter. The Rockets led 47-31 entering the fourth.
With his team trailing 55-33 with 5:47 to play, Kaneland coach Brian Johnson sent in his reserves.
"They're a good team without a doubt," Johnson said of the Rockets. "We showed what our deficiencies are. We couldn't make free throws, we couldn't make shots and we played very poor defense. It's a bad combo."