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Sports

Girls Basketball: Alex Lichner, Burlington Central wrap up regular season with rout of Huntley

Rockets win 11th straight, settle for second in FVC with Dundee-Crown win

Burlington Central senior Alexandra Lichner
Burlington Central senior Alexandra Lichner

HAMPSHIRE – Alex Lichner drove hard down the left baseline, awaiting a pass from Kat Schmidt.

To that point in the fourth quarter, the Burlington Central senior had zero points, but seven rebounds. Lichner soon found a lane and earned a tough layup. Minutes later, she popped a 3-pointer that got the entire Burlington Central bench off its feet.

"Alex is honestly the best teammate," Schmidt said after Burlington Central's convincing 58-22 Fox Valley Conference victory over Huntley in Friday's regular season finale. "She's always supporting everyone. She's so selfless and just so fun to be around, like she always make you laugh on and off the court."

"She pulled that three and we all were just so hyped," Schmidt continued. "Because she's always happy for everyone else so it was amazing just be so happy for her, to have her moment."

The Rockets (27-4, 16-2) celebrated Senior Night on Friday, honoring six from the program – Zoey Kollhoff, Lily Moretti, Madelyn Menke, Reili Gardner, Schmidt and Lichner.

Schmidt led the way with 17 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Elana Wells had eight points and four assists. Moretti had nine points and three rebounds.

Burlington Central's win was its 11th straight to wrap up the regular season, although the Rockets settled for second place in the FVC as Dundee-Crown beat Hampshire Friday.

Lichner's road back to the basketball court for her final season wasn't easy. During her junior season, she suffered a torn right ACL.

"She missed the bulk of her junior season," Burlington Central coach Collin Kalamatas said. "Really battled to get back; she didn't play with us all summer. She got the clearance I think a week before tryouts. And, really started to find her stride probably the last month or so."

Lichner, a three-year varsity player, finished with five points and seven rebounds.

"Tonight was just a product of of all that hard work coming out," Kalamatas said. "Just the fact that she was able to put up a game like this on her senior night is just one of the really cool moments that I think everyone in our program can appreciate because of the type of kid she is [and] the work ethic she has."

Each Rockets senior was honored briefly pregame by walking on to the court with their respective families.

"It's crazy because it flew by so fast," Lichner said. "[The team was] just talking like we remember freshman year. It's just crazy to think that it's over, but now we're ready for the postseason."

Huntley trailed 24-12 at halftime, and had a difficult time establishing anything offensively for the majority of the game. Burlington Central took a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter and never let up.

The Red Raiders scored only one point in the fourth quarter on Nicole Flaherty's free throw. Huntley had 12 turnovers on the night, leading to finishing the regular season on a sour note.

"We were just outplayed, outworked and outhustled tonight," Huntley coach Steven Raethz said. "I just feel like we were beaten [in] every facet of the game. It's an unfortunate way to end the [regular] season, but like we just talked about with heading into the postseason here: This game in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter."

Huntley (18-12, 12-5) had a six-game win streak snapped on Friday. The Red Raiders were led by Kamsi Nwogu's seven points and six rebounds. Raquel Radermacher had seven points and two rebounds.

"It's one of those things where we need to reset, and we need to come back ready to go [for] practice tomorrow and be ready to play Guilford on Tuesday....credit to Collin, his kids and his team. They played a great game tonight."

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