CENTERBURG — The Centerburg Trojans showed what they could do Tuesday evening, coming right out of their locker room and pulling down 13 first-quarter rebounds, while building a 16-9 lead against the visiting Berne Union Rockets. The Trojans just couldn’t sustain the effort, losing control of the ball and the lead, eventually falling to the Rockets in non-conference action, 58-44.
Centerburg junior Hayden Hankinson (12 points) had six of his team’s first quarter rebounds, while teammate Carter Jones (12 points) grabbed four of his game-leading nine rebounds in the opening quarter. Jones had two more, early in the second quarter, but then, the game turned around. Berne Union senior Zane Mirgon (12 points, two steals) got ahold of three of his seven rebounds in the game in the second quarter. Defense was a team effort for Berne Union as larger players like 6-foot-4 Brock Unger (15 points) boxed out for the Rockets, while smaller guys like 5-foot-9 juniors Chase McCartney (13 points, six rebounds) and Levi Ross (five assists, two rebounds) gobbled up rebounds.
Morgan Mead (eight points) and Carter, scored from outside the arc for the Trojans as they managed to hang on to a 36-30 lead midway through the third quarter. Then, Mirgon landed a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 36. The Rockets followed that with a go-ahead basket from Baron Dobbins (10 points), making it a 38-36 game after three quarters.
Once the Rockets got on top, their defense tightened. The Trojans didn’t score another field goal until there was under a minute left in the game. In the meantime, Unger landed a pair of 3’s and Dobbins scored twice. McCartney snagged five of the Rockets’ eight, fourth-quarter rebounds. Berne Union finished with 22 rebounds to Centerburg’s 24.
“As the game goes on, we just need to learn how to continue to play the game the same way, like we do at the start,” Brusco said. “That’s a process and we’ll get there, but that was a great effort for Berne Union and, as the game went on, their experience showed and they were able to do things against us. Also, we struggled to knock down shots and that really hurt us.”
The Trojans will host Cardington in a KMAC matchup Friday at 7:30 p.m.