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Burlington Central earns share of BNC East title

02/14/2013, 9:36pm CST
By Steve Nemeth

Burlington Central secured a share of the BNC East title with its 65-30 win over North Boone on Thursday. Brett Rau scored 10 points to lead the Rockets, who have won six straight.

Unlike the rest of the game, Burlington Central’s Zach Barry had to admit he felt some pressure at the free throw line for the finish of Thursday’s 65-30 blowout of North Boone, and it had nothing to do with the contest being a combination Senior Night and home finale.

The student body and everyone else erupted in cheers when the senior made the second of two free throws because that 65th point signified all in attendance could receive a coupon for a free donut from Country Donuts in Elgin.

“Initially I didn’t think about it, but then I heard the guys on the bench talking about it and I felt a little pressure,” Barry admitted. “It was a special night for all us seniors, but hitting that last free throw makes it really special for me.”

The victory guaranteed Burlington Central – now 12-13 after an 0-7 start to the season and 10-1 in Big Northern Conference play --- at least a share of the BNC East Division title. Perhaps standing in the way will be the Rockets’ season finale foe in Richmond-Burton. R-B has two league losses heading into a trio of home conference matches, the last of which will be against Central.

“At that (0-7) point in the year, that (division crown) became something for us to really work for,” Burlington Central coach Brett Porto admitted. “We had a lot of close losses, several games we thought we should’ve won, but it really was the start of the second season.

“Despite tonight’s win, I believe the team feels they have some unfinished business and we want to win that last one (at R-B) to help move toward the start of our third season (in the IHSA tourney).”

The triumph was the sixth straight for the Rockets who began the string with a 63-24 victory at North Boone.

“We played well tonight from the start with a lot of shots falling early, plus we caused a lot of turnovers,” Porto noted in what was an understatement.

Burlington Central raced out to a 16-0 lead and North Boone chalked up 10 turnovers and eight missed shots before finally getting on the scoreboard with 2:49 left in the opening quarter thanks to a Michael Gilmore three-pointer.

The hosts turned the 16-3 opening frame lead into a 46-12 halftime advantage which certainly meant there would be no suspense in the outcome. Even though the visiting Vikings --- who dipped to 4-20 overall and 1-9 in loop play --- managed to win the third quarter by a 13-9 margin, it was the kind of night when everyone logged notable minutes.

The Rockets started five seniors and substituted the Brett Rau finished with a game-high 10 points while senior Moter Deng had eight while Barry’s finished with seven points.

North Boone was paced by nine-point outings from Austin Baden and Kyle Hoffman.

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