Wild win over Johnsburg keeps Burlington C. in KRC lead
With their rivalry in the Kishwaukee River Conference coming to an end, Burlington Central and Johnsburg made their final conference meeting a memorable one Friday night.
Down 11 points in the third quarter in large part because of a brilliant shooting display from Johnsburg senior guard Zach Toussaint, the Rockets fought back.
Patrick Mayfield scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, the final two on a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left to give the Rockets a 72-71 win and set off a court storming by the student section.
"I kind of knew we would come back because I knew that was not us playing," Mayfield said. "Once we all came together at the end of the third there was no doubt in my mind."
Burlington Central (19-8, 7-2) entered the game in a three-way tie in the loss column for first place with Johnsburg (16-11, 8-3) and Woodstock North (15-10, 6-2).
The Rockets play at Woodstock North Saturday, then host Woodstock North next Friday in their final Kishwaukee River game before moving to the Fox Valley next year.
Their chances of going out as Kishwaukee champs didn't look promising when the Skyhawks took a 50-39 lead and Rockets coach Brett Porto called timeout with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
Porto said he emphasized defense in the timeout. The Rockets got a few stops, and Mayfield sank a 3. Logan Andersen poked the ball away from Toussaint in the closing seconds which led to Mayfield's Euro-step lay-in just before the buzzer bringing the Rockets within 52-48.
Burlington Central still found itself behind 61-56 with four minutes remaining. Braden Seyller's putback, then his corner 3 tied the game at 61.
Toussaint's jumper matched a pair of Mayfield free throws, and after Johnsburg went back up 65-63, Seyller assisted Mayfield for a rare open 3 and a 66-65 lead with 2:10 left -- the Rockets' first lead since midway through the second quarter.
Toussaint's free throws -- he was 7 for 7 -- made it 67-66 before another Mayfield 3 and Josh Hudgens' free throw had the Rockets up 70-67.
A floater from Toussaint followed by a questionable 5-second call on Mayfield gave the Skyhawks a chance. Toussaint again delivered, this time by slicing through the defense and drawing multiple defenders, leaving Joey Comstock wide open under the basket. Comstock laid the ball in for a 71-70 lead with 20 seconds left.
Out of timeouts, the Rockets quickly pushed the ball. They eventually got it to Mayfield who was fouled on a 15-foot jumper. He made both free throws in-between a Johnsburg timeout to finish 9 of 10 at the line.
Johnsburg turned the ball over without getting off one last shot.
"We haven't had a game like that this year where we've been down double digits and came back and won," Rockets coach Brett Porto said.
Toussaint was unstoppable in the first half scoring 25 points on a mix of deep 3-pointers, quick drives to the rim and pullup jumpers.
Burlington Central battled through 9 lead changes in the first half including one on Seyller's half-court shot to put the Rockets up 19-17 after one quarter.
Mayfield picked up his third foul with 1:09 left in the second quarter. He never came out of the game and never was called for another foul, finishing with 25 points. Seyller scored 13, Jake Lenschow and Hudgens 8 and Zac Schmidt 6 while Toussaint finished with a game-high 35.
It was a well played game by both teams who combined to make 33 of 37 free throws. While their conference matchups are now over, they will see each other again in the Class 3A Marengo sectional if both win regionals.
"It was a big win for us," said Seyller, who took his turn on Toussaint along with Edward Wells, Andersen and others after Mayfield got in foul trouble. "Toussaint had a heck of a game. Trying to contain him is really hard."