Burlington Central routs Boylan to reach sectional final
Burlington Central boys basketball coach Brett Porto may be incapable of experiencing good feelings during a game.
"I'm from the (NBA coach) Tom Thibodeau School," Porto said. "Besides winning everything else is misery. I don't know if there is ever a good feeling."
Still, Porto admitted he liked what he saw from the Rockets early in their Class 3A Burlington Central sectional boys basketball tournament semifinal on Wednesday.
Central's man-to-man defense was suffocating. The Rockets' high energy erased any doubt early as to who was going to win, as they seized control and never let go against Boylan, holding the Titans to one point in the first quarter.
The Rockets kept it rolling through three quarters, eventually producing a running clock, in a 65-33 victory. Central (29-5) will face Marmion (22-11) at 7 p.m. Friday for the sectional championship.
"It was the energy in the locker room before the game," Rockets guard Caden West said. "We were so amped up, so excited to be here. That energy carried out to the start of the game and we started jumping on them. The energy was through the roof."
It showed on the court.
Central forced six turnovers and held the Titans (22-12) to 0 for 8 shooting in the first quarter.
"I liked how we were defending early on and the fact that they weren't getting quality looks inside or out," Porto said.
The Rockets built a 17-1 lead when Nic Gouriotis hit a 3-pointer to start the second quarter, and pushed it to 42-14 at halftime.
"It's just special. I've watched Central basketball for years," Gouriotis said. "To start a game like that and get momentum like that it huge for us. It felt great."
Drew Scharnowski led Central with 18 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. West tossed in 12, Gouriotis added 11 and Jake Johnson scored 10.
"All week we've been prepping," Scharnowski said. "Coach Porto did a great job to get us ready. We just knew we had to bring the intensity on defense and we executed. We were making the right reads, making the right passes. People were finishing strong. I have to give it to Caden West, Nic Gouriotis, Nolan Milas, all those guys. A solid team effort."
Central will play for a sectional title for the third time in five seasons. The Rockets are still looking for their first sectional championship in boys basketball.
Central's 30-point lead in the fourth quarter meant the clock kept running unless a timeout was called. The Titans scored their season-low by eight points and did not have a player with more than six points.
"We had a tough start," Boylan coach Brett McAllister said. "Their pressure hurt us and took us out. Our offense got pushed too far out, but we needed to hit a few shots.
"They kind of dictated where our guys would go offensively. Our guys started to go east and west when they felt that pressure, where we needed to go north and south. They got us from behind with steals."