Burlington Central's shooting woes finally caught up with the Rockets. They shot just 30 percent from the field and 58 percent from the free-throw line in a 61-54 Big Northern East loss at Marengo Tuesday night.
The loss knocked Central (15-6, 5-2) out of a first-place tie in the division.
"We've kind of struggled shooting the ball lately," said Central coach Brett Porto. "I'll look at the film, but not too many were bad shots. They were good open looks.
"We've been surviving of late with that, but until we start finishing a little better, games are going to be like that for us."
The Rockets seem to have a different offensive leader every night. Tuesday it was Sean Fitzgerald, who hit 4 of the Rockets' 5 3-pointers while finishing with 14 points. Brett Rau, back in the starting lineup, added 10 points and 9 rebounds, but the Rockets couldn't find anything that consistently worked on offense.
Reed Hunnicutt chipped in 9 points and Jake Schutta had 8 for the Rockets.
With the game tied 27-all at halftime, Marengo opened the second half on a 7-0 spurt and the Rockets never really recovered. They tied it at 47 in the final period, but couldn't get over the top. With the Indians (12-10, 6-1) clinging to a 55-54 lead, Hunter Simonini converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to make it a 2-possession game. The Indians added 3 more free throws for the final margin.
Sophomore guard Zach Knobloch was the only Indian in double figures with 15 points, but three others added 9 apiece.
After trailing early on, the Rockets used a 10-2 run to take a second-quarter lead. They pushed the advantage to as many as 5 points before settling for a halftime tie.
Porto was also disappointed with the Rockets' rebounding after Marengo held a 40-31 advantage on the boards. Adam Rogutich grabbed 11 boards and Dustin Rondorf had 9 despite not starting.
The Rockets got some extra possessions by forcing 16 turnovers, but couldn't convert. They hit just 17 of 57 shots from the field and weren't much better from the free-throw line.