HAMPSHIRE – Down two starters, the Burlington Central Rockets had to overcome a slow start Thursday – but sophomore Kathryn Schmidt ensured the Rockets could eventually blast off.
Schmidt scored 25 points during a dominating first half, and finished with 31 points and three assists in the Rockets' 64-30 win at the Burlington Central Thanksgiving Tournament.
Burlington Central (3-0) was without point guard Elana Wells and Zoey Kollhoff. Wells could return for the Rockets' doubleheader Saturday. Kolhoff missed Thursday's game due to a soccer tournament.
Without the two, Larkin capitalized, getting out to an early 8-4 lead. But the Royals struggled to contain Schmidt the rest of the way and the mistakes piled up..
Schmidt poured in most shots from close range, and had a knack for converting on scoring chances in transition.
"We're a lot more comfortable this year," Schmidt said. "We all have experience from last year, so I think it's going to be a really good year. We're really moving the ball well, and picking up the pace."
The game appeared within striking distance for the Royals, who trailed 15-10 at the end of the first quarter. The first six minutes of the quarter looked promsing for the Royals, who were reversing an early-season trend of less-than-10 point deficits.
"After that first six or seven minutes, we went back to where we started the last two nights," Larkin coach Steve Knapp said.
Larkin was stuck in scoring dry spells off-and-on, and an early spell was finally broken for the Royals' first points of the second quarter with 5:15 to go on a Gloria Stoltz 3-pointer. But, only Brianna Young's pair of converted free throws the rest of the half would total Larkin's second quarter scoring output to five.
Burlington, meanwhile, capitalized in a lengthy doube-digit scoring run of its own to put the game largely in hand by the half up 38-15.
Larkin managed to nearly equal the Rockets' third quarter scoring 10-9 with Bohn getting physical on the defense end, and flashing some 3-point power with two second half buckets. Yet, by the 2:18 mark in the fourth quarter, the Rockets built a comfortable 30 point lead.
Larkin (0-3) was paced by senior Haley Bohn with 12 points, and Aaliyah Dixon popped in eight for the Royals.
"Larkin pressures you [and] they make you do things you don't really want to," Burlington coach Mark Smith said. "At times, it felt like they were dictating what to do instead of us [doing so]. Credit to Larkin. They were playing hard and physical."
Looking ahead, the Rockets face Belvidere North and East Aurora on Saturday, while Larkin has East Aurora and Rockford Guilford.