Burlington Central wins 8th straight
In the blink of an eye the complexion of Friday night's Fox Valley Conference contest between visiting Prairie Ridge and host Burlington Central changed dramatically.
A 3-pointer by PR's Ryan Hansen tied the score at 17 with 2:47 left in the first half.
Those would be the last points the Wolves (4-23, 2-15) would score during the first 16 minutes.
Propelled by 6 points from Josh Hudgens and 4 from Jake Lenschow, the Rockets scored the final 10 points of the half and led 27-17 at intermission.
That surge at the end of the half gave the Rockets enough momentum going into the second half to post a 58-40 win over the Wolves.
"We really upped the defensive pressure and got a spark to end the half on a positive note," said Burlington Central coach Brett Porto. "We were able to get some breathing room going into the second half."
It was the last regular season home game for seniors Hudgens, Lenschow and Edward Wells.
Lenschow paced the Rockets (22-8, 12-5), winners of 8 straight, with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Hudgens added 15 points with 6 rebounds and 3 assists while Wells produced 2 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot.
"This was a big night for the three of us," said Hudgens. "We started off a little slow in the first half but the run at the end of the half really got us going and gave us a lot of momentum."
Porto praised his three seniors.
"They are great leaders on this team," said Porto. "We are playing sophomores and freshmen and the seniors make sure every person on the team feels important. We have very good chemistry because of the seniors."
The Rockets were able to seize control of the game in the third quarter.
Spearheaded by a 3 from Zac Schmidt and layups from Lenschow and Nick Carpenter, Central started the second half on a 7-2 run and led 34-19 with 5:12 left in the third quarter.
Burlington's biggest advantage was 50-27 with 3:11 left after a layup by Andrew Scharnowski.
PR, which made 7-of-14 from beyond the arc, was paced by Bennett Barr and Mason Loucks who each scored 11 points with three 3-pointers each.
"We controlled the tempo for most of the first half," said PR coach Ryan Smith. "The 10-0 run at the end of the first half really hurt us. Their quickness and size really hurt us. We had a lot of trouble with their trap. We had to settle for 3s. We couldn't get any easy baskets inside. Night in and night out we are playing hard and competing. That's all you can ask for."