Burlington Central holds off Marengo
Burlington Central senior Dejsani Beamon certainly talked the talk and walked the walk during a 52-48 Kishwaukee River boys basketball win in Marengo Friday. And after a third-quarter surge by the Indians, the Rockets needed Beamon to do so on defense in order to grab their 14th straight win.
Up 7 at intermission and seemingly in control, the Rockets (17-2, 4-0), who never trailed in the first half, came out flat in the third and watched Marengo's 13-2 surge turn into a 37-33 Indians advantage with 4 minutes left, prompting BC coach Brett Porto to call for time.
"We had some poor closeouts and they drove those closeouts," Porto said of Marengo's run. "And then we were slow on rotations or just keeping the middle open when we were rotating and they were finding that guy."
Burlington, though, went back to its old defensive ways. Immediately following 2 free throws by Caden Scott after the talk, Beamon turned a steal near midcourt into an old-fashioned 3-point play on a layup with 3:33 to go. Beamon gave Central a 38-37 lead and the Rockets never relinquished the lead thereafter.
"After we went back up I went back to the huddle and told them not to let them get back up, again," said Beamon, who finished with 9 points and 3 steals that came during the final 12 minutes. "They came out on fire in the third quarter and we just had to fight to get back."
Not only did BC get back, that momentum led to a 12-0 run to end the quarter as Marengo totaled 4 turnovers. Zach Schutta (8 rebounds) went off in the final 3 minutes, scoring 7 of his game-high 23 points in that stretch. The flourish included a putback and one of his four 3-pointers and BC started to look like itself again.
"We just can't panic," Schutta said of those situations. "We've been down before. We just have to get a stop on defense and run through our offense. Execution on offense was really huge there and it pretty much gave us the game."
Junior Patrick Mayfield added 11 points and 3 steals and Central finished with 16 offensive rebounds, a 29-21 edge on the glass and 16 points off Marengo's 11 turnovers. All of that countered a bad shooting night of just 19 field goals made on a 35.8 percent clip for the Rockets.
Marengo (10-6, 1-2), on the other hand, shot almost identical percentages in each half and finished at a 47.7 clip. The Indians also refused to quit. After a Beamon drive that gave BC a 49-41 lead with 2:30 left, the Indians went on a 5-0 run and got within 3 on a Matt Fischer 3 with 1:29 left.
Two times Marengo had attempts from deep to tie the game in the final minute, the last coming on Blaine Borhart's shot with 2.2 left, but nothing fell for the Indians, who saw Fischer and Borhart go for 13 points, each and Brock Betrand bang for 11 points and 4 rebounds.
"We had a couple looks at the end and I felt like if we got one to go down we could get this thing to overtime," Marengo coach Nate Wright said. "They had some timely offensive rebound putbacks and obviously when you have a guy (like Schutta) who made four 3s every single time with a guy in his face, what are you going to do?"