RICHMOND -- Even though Burlington Central lost to Richmond-Burton, Central coach Brett Porto had a big smile on his face afterward. Then he darted off to be with his wife, who just gave birth to the couple's second child.
That made what happened on the court -- a 76-67 Richmond victory -- something of an afterthought.
Porto's Rockets didn't play that badly but at critical times, Richmond just couldn't miss. Every time the R-B Rockets needed a big play they got one, either from 3-point shooters like Brian Wells, who scored 23 points, or from freshman big man Joe St. Pierre, who had 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Leading by just 3 points with 3 minutes left, Richmond scored 6 straight to go up 70-61 with 1:20 to play, and the visiting Rockets couldn't recover. Richmond wrapped up the Big Northern East title with the win. BC could have earned a share had it won.
Reed Hunnicutt was on fire for BC, finishing with 27 points. He also had 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Brett Rau added 23 points and 8 rebounds, and Duncan Ozburn added 9 points and 7 boards for the Burlington Rockets.
Wells, Mike Kaska, Sam Kaurman, and Blaine Bayer combined to go 10-for-18 from 3-point range, seemingly hitting a few from Genoa City, Wisconsin.
"They shot the ball extremely well tonight," said Porto. "I'm a little disappointed with how we guarded the 3-point line, but they had multiple guys that hit 3s at big times for them. It was a game of runs and they ended on the run."
After trailing for much of the first half, Burlington closed on a 7-0 run to lead 37-34 at halftime. R-B responded with a 16-5 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to go up 64-52. A dunk by St. Pierre capped the run.
Central came right back, with Hunnicutt scoring 7 points during a 9-0 run that made it 64-61, but that was as close as Central could get.
Hunnicutt went 7-for-9 from the free-throw line, but the rest of the team was just 1-for-8, while Richmond made 12 of 16.