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After an 0-7 start, Burlington Central continues to legitimize itself.
The Rockets won their third in a row Friday night, 59-36, over visiting Harvard in Big Northern East play. The win pushes the Rockets to 3-0 in the division and gives them momentum heading into the start of the Plano Christmas Classic, which begins Saturday.
“The first seven games were pretty tough; we had some tough opponents,” Central senior Bryce Warner said. “We’re in conference now and the first seven games were really preparing us for the rest of the season. Our goal is to be at 4-7 before Christmas.”
Down 29-22 at the half, the Hornets (1-4, 0-2) made a run to cut the deficit to 33-29 midway through the third. However, the Rockets (3-7, 3-0) responded with a three-pointer from Charles Horton and went into the fourth up 39-31.
Central then used its trap to put the game away, forcing six turnovers in five minutes and outscoring Harvard 20-7 in the final frame.
“I think we relied too much through three quarters on perimeter shooting,” Central coach Brett Porto said. “I think we played hard for a good six minutes tonight where we got after them. There were five or six possessions there where they weren’t getting good looks and that really keyed us offensively, but we were disappointed with our defense for about three quarters.”
Central shot just 32 percent (21-for-66) from the field, but dominated the glass. The Rockets had 20 second-chance points, including 14 in the first half.
“Games in the past, we’ve been struggling getting rebounding on the weak side,” said Warner, who finished with eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds. “For our team, rebounding is always a focus before the game.”
Senior Moter Deng led the Rockets with a game-high 13 points and eight rebounds with two blocks. Horton and Ryan Ritchie added seven points each for Central, which got 19 points from its bench.
Harvard finished with 33 percent shooting (14-for-43), and was led by Tate Miller and Erik Finke, who each tallied nine points.