Burlington Central's hopes for a conference title went up in smoke in Richmond Thursday night.
Brandon Kinsella scored 25 points as Richmond-Burton downed Central, 61-56, preventing the Burlington Rockets from claiming a share of the Big Northern East crown. The title would have been their first since 2007-08. Instead, Hampshire wins the BN-East outright.
Trailing by 9 early in the fourth quarter, Central rallied to get within a point. Ryan Ritchie's 3-pointer made it 57-56 with 50 seconds to play. After Kinsella made 2 free throws, Burlington had 3 chances to tie, but couldn't connect. Kinsella then hit 2 more free throws to ice it.
"I can't fault our effort," said Central coach Brett Porto. "Our execution on the defensive end was poor at times. But the kids battled and fought back. That's all you can ask for."
Ritchie finished with 15 points to lead Burlington. Ray Hunnicutt added 12, Sam Klein 10, and Thomas Fitzgerald 8 for Central (15-10, 7-2).
Klein also grabbed 8 rebounds.
Richmond held Klein and Hunnicutt in check early, but Ritchie scored 10 points in the second quarter to keep Central close. Burlington trailed 30-29 at halftime.
But Richmond scored the first 10 points of the second half, and Burlington spent the rest of the game digging out of the hole. Central missed 4 field goals and 2 free throws and committed 6 turnovers during that span.
Richmond (13-12, 6-4) was just 1 of 7 from the free-throw line through 3 quarters, but made its last 8 in a row down the stretch.
While Kinsella made the court his personal field of dreams, no one else reached double figures for Richmond. Matt Rygiel had 8 points and 8 rebounds, giving the R-B Rockets an inside presence.
Central got some big contributions off the bench as Jared Moxness had 6 points and Michael Parker had 3 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.
Trinity Christian 97, Judson 80: The Eagles (15-16) saw their season come to an end in the CCAC tournament semifinals in Palos Heights. Jim Kuban had 15 points to lead Judson.