RICHMOND – When his Burlington Central boys basketball team dwindled what had been a double-digit deficit down to only three points in the fourth quarter Friday night, coach Brett Porto believed the Rockets had one final push in them.
Turns out, Richmond-Burton proved to be the one that kept some reserve in the tank.
R-B poured in 13 points in the final three minutes and limited Central when it mattered most in a 76-67 victory to capture the outright Big Northern Conference East Division title. The championship was R-B’s fourth division crown in the past six years and first 20-win season since 1989-90.
“It was a game of runs and they ended on the run,” Porto said. “We liked where we were at, and I would have liked to see us respond a little better.
“But they just hit a few more shots.”
Central (15-8, 7-4 BNC East) got 27 points from Reed Hunnicutt and 21 points from Brett Rau in the loss. The Rockets got as close as 64-61 with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. But R-B, which hit 10 3-point field goals in the title-clinching win, scored the game’s next six points to re-establish its lead.
Central led 37-34 at the half, but then was outscored in each of the final two quarters – including by nine points in the third quarter. R-B (20-7, 10-2) got 23 points from Brian Wells, who hit a team-best three 3-point field goals along with Mike Kaska.
Wheaton Academy 59, Marmion 49: At West Chicago, Josh Ruggles scored 16 points as Wheaton Academy (19-8, 10-0 Suburban Christian Conference Blue) closed out an unbeaten run through conference.
• Jeff Arnold contributed to this report.