It’s not necessarily how you start, it’s how you finish.
Burlington Central played out that old adage Friday night. The Rockets overcame a quiet first quarter to pick up a huge 58-49 Big Northern East road win over Genoa-Kingston.
Neither Burlington Central (16-6, 6-2) nor Genoa-Kingston (14-7, 6-2) began playing well for such a pivotal conference game this late in the season.
The Rockets shot just 2-for-9 in the first quarter while the Cogs were 2-for-10. But the Rockets hit 5-of-8 foul shots to take a 10-6 lead. It was in the second and third quarters that Burlington Central took over.
“I was very pleased with how we played in the second and third quarter,” Rockets coach Brett Porto. “We really started to defend well and forced some turnovers which we were able to turn in to points. There were about six minutes in this game that I wasn’t happy with how we played, but other than that this was a great win. ”
Burlington Central took control of the game from the perimeter. The Rockets hit five three-pointers in the second and third quarter to increase their lead by as many as 19.
Sean Fitzgerald had the hot hand for Burlington Central. The senior guard hit his first six shots, and five of those were from behind the three-point line. Fitzgerald led the Rockets with 19 points.
Genoa-Kingston was able to climb back to within seven points late in the fourth quarter, but it was too late for the Cogs.
“We still struggled from the free-throw line, which has been our weakness this season,” Porto said. “We had a chance to put this game out of reach, but when you don’t hit foul shots you give your opponent a chance.”
Genoa-Kingston was led by sophomore Tommy Lucca with 19 points.
“We settled for a lot of three-point attempts early on and weren’t able to make many,” Cogs coach Corey Jenkins said. “We couldn’t take advantage of their zone defense and got very complacent. I was happy with the effort we gave. We didn’t give up and fought to the end.”