The first time Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont played Chariton, it was a three-point Charger win. The second time, a two-point win. When the teams met for a third time in the second round of district play, it looked like the Chargers would blow out the Rockets, leading 13-6 after the first quarter and 34-21 at the half.
Jackson Curnutte was tearing the Rockets apart, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Then Coach Travis Stout made a defensive switch. He put 5’7” point guard Kaylen Walker on the 6’3” Curnutte, averaging almost 18 points a game, as the first quarter ended.
Curnutte would not score again. In fact, in the second half, he was barely able to get off a shot as the lightning quick Walker hounded him all over the perimeter and when he did manage to get inside, help came from Isaiah Smith, Thane Alexander and Ethan Davis.
The Rocket defense in general created chaos on the court and the 11-point halftime lead evaporated in the third quarter on steals, fast breaks and layups. The Rockets outscored Chariton 20-8 in the third quarter and 16-13 in the fourth.
Dylan Cain managed 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Chargers and Hunter Koehn and Lance Wallace added nine each, but they simply could not account for the loss of their scoring leader, Curnutte.
The Rockets move to 9-13 on the season. The 17-3 Blue Demons beat the Rockets by 23 points the first go-around and edged them by two when the game shifted to Eddyville.