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Central's Rebecca Gerke (50) grabs a rebound from Marengo's Peyton Velasquez (12)during the second quarter of their game at Central High School Friday. January 4, 2013. The Rockets won the game 46-21. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media

While Burlington Central’s girls struggled offensively coming out of a 14-day break Friday against Marengo, there was certainly no rust on defense.

Central forced 30 turnovers and held Marengo to 27 total shot attempts and six field goals in a 46-21 Big Northern East homecourt victory.

“We pick up defense really quick,” Central freshman guard Kayla Ross said. “I think we came out better in the second half. We picked up our intensity.”

In winning for the fifth straight time, the Rockets (14-2, 5-0) scored nine points after Marengo’s 11 first-quarter turnovers and finished with 24 points off turnovers on the game.

Central was led on offense by Alison Colby with 14 points and Shelby Ross with 12. Ross had five steals to go with three assists and four points, while senior guard Camille Delacruz had two more steals and seven points.

“We stress defensively we want to hold teams under a certain amount and create turnovers,” Central coach Mark Smith said. “I know they played that way in the past as eighth-graders, the freshmen. It’s kind of a second nature thing.

“Talking to their eighth-grade coach about Kayla last year, he said whoever they needed to stop they just put Kayla on her. She does a great job. Camille does too. They work good together.”

Central led 13-2 after a quarter, but couldn’t turn the game into a complete blowout until the early fourth quarter when its defense finished the job. Marengo got back within 12 in the early third quarter until an 11-2 fourth quarter finished it.

“I was getting nervous,” Ross said. “I don’t like close games. But we picked it up and came out with a win.”

The 20-for-56 field goal shooting (36 percent) will get better with practice and more games, Smith said.

“We kind of expected that,” Smith said about the offensive struggles. “We gave them some days off around Christmas and some days off around New Year’s so we looked a little sluggish, but I thought we played much better in the second half.

“Alison looked good tonight. She came to play and I thought the girls did a good job feeding her the ball.”

Marengo (5-12, 2-2) had a game-high seven points from Lynsey Hoecke.

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