HAMPSHIRE – Burlington Central's record-breaking season just added another accolade to the mix.
On March 2, Burlington Central defeated Montini 89-78 for the program's first regional title since 2008 and first under nine-year head coach Brett Porto. It was the only matchup between the schools this season, but both have familiar history.
"We played them last year in the regional semifinal game," said Rockets forward Zach Schutta, who had 25 points and eight rebounds. "We scouted them pretty good, and we knew who their main guys were and what they were trying to do."
Patrick Mayfield scored 14 of his 24 points in the second half for Burlington Central, which held off Montini by making 21 of its 23 fourth-quarter free throws – the last 15 in a row. The Rockets made 38 of 44 for the game.
The game prior, Burlington Central took care of Kaneland 49-41.
With the victory over Montini, the Rockets overcame a regional hump and moved on to the Woodstock North Sectional for a first-round matchup against a familiar opponent, Johnsburg. Burlington defeated the Skyhawks 74-48 back on Jan. 23. At the time, both were undefeated in Kishwaukee River Conference action.
The program's ninth regional title comes on the heels of an incredible regular season that had a 20-game win streak. Schutta also broke the program's all-time scoring record.
The previous two years, Burlington had fallen short in the regional title games – both to Glenbard South.
"Definitely a remarkable accomplishment," Schutta said of the regional title. "Definitely one coach is gonna remember knowing that its his first. [It's] definitely one the team is gonna remember – especially the seniors – in their last year they finally got their regional title."