McHenry surprises Burlington Central

 
By Eric Bridges
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/10/2020 10:40 PM

Burlington Central's defense forced McHenry into taking long shots in the first half, but the Warriors found a way to work inside in the second half to outlast the Rockets for a 63-59 road victory Friday.

Rockets coach Collin Kalamatas thought his team performed offensively, but just couldn't find a way to get consecutive stops against the Warriors defensively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Yeah, definitely a tough loss for us, but you have to give them credit because they hit the shots they had to make," Kalamatas said. "I thought we played pretty well offensively, but we just couldn't seem to get them stopped on defense. They'd either hit a shot or we'd foul and they'd go to the line."

McHenry (11-3, 4-3) sank five 3-point shots in the first quarter to stay within 17-16 of Burlington Central (14-3, 6-2) as the quarter ended. Both teams turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, and the Rockets started forcing the Warriors into turnovers to build a 27-18 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Warriors defense was swarming around forward Kathryn Schmidt (21 points, 7 rebounds) in the second half and forced the senior into sitting several minutes due to foul trouble, which benefited the Warriors in the fourth quarter.

"I think overall they (Warriors) just played really well," Schmidt said. "They shot really well and also defended us very well too. They took away a lot of our shots and made us earn every shot we took. I wasn't able to contest shots as much and drive the lane, so that definitely hurt us for sure."

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After finishing tied 41-41 at the end of the third quarter, the Warriors outscored the Rockets 22-17 in the fourth -- 15 of their points were made at the foul line.

"We had that stretch where Kat (Schmidt) was out and we had to sit her, which makes a big difference on offense and defense for us," Kalamatas said. "With Kat out of there, Katie (Beyer) was able to isolate and work inside too, so that hurt us as well. They came out with a few different defensive looks and we had to make adjustments and it set us back a little bit, so we give them a lot of credit."

Before the game, the Rockets celebrated junior Elana Wells scoring her 1,000th career point. Wells, who finished with 24, appreciated the support from her teammates.

"I think it's a great accomplishment for a junior to score 1,000 points," Wells said. "The recognition before the game was amazing and I wouldn't want to celebrate it with anyone else but my school and my teammates."

"She's the kind of kid who doesn't like to celebrate her accomplishments, so we kind of forced her into it," Kalamatas said. "We didn't tell her it was coming. She didn't show it, but I'm sure it meant a lot to her because she really puts a lot of work into her game and deserves it."

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