JOHNSBURG — For one half, Johnsburg held its own against Burlington Central's high-powered offense during Friday's Kishwaukee River Conference showdown.
In fact, the Skyhawks (15-12, 7-3 KRC) headed to the locker room trailing by just two at intermission, with a chance to pull within a game of the conference-leading Rockets with a win.
"Trouble is, it's a 32-minute game, and not a 16-minute one, and we have to get tougher and learn that," Skyhawks coach Mike Toussaint said after his team's 84-68 loss to the Rockets.
Instead, Burlington Central (23-2, 10-0) dominated Johnsburg in the third quarter with transition basket after transition basket, which led to the Rockets scoring 28 points in the period, and blowing the game wide open. The Rockets made 11 of their first 13 shots in the third, and finished the quarter 13 of 17 from the field.
B-C then coasted to victory the rest of the way to clinch the KRC title outright in the process.
"Their transition game just destroyed us," Toussaint said. "It seemed like every possession they had in the third quarter ended in a basket in the blink of an eye, and that's an effort issue on our part. I mean, they were running and gunning in the first half, too, and we held our own against them then. So why can't we do that the entire game?"
The Skyhawks got a 13-point, five-assist effort from junior guard Zach Toussaint, including four separate flashy, highlight-reel dishes that led to easy baskets.
"That's Zach's biggest strength, in my opinion ... is his ability to make the guys around him better when he's at the top of his game," Mike Toussaint said. "Sure, he's gotten a lot of notice for his scoring ability. He's averaging just over 22 points a game, but he's also at seven assists a game. Winning, no matter who scores, is his No. 1 priority."
Unfortunately for Johnsburg, all of his points and assists Friday came in the first half, as he was kept off the scoresheet completely the rest of the night in both categories, as he routinely drew double-and-triple teams.
That opened things up for 6-4 senior forward Brody Frazier, who tallied a team-high 15 points along with six rebounds. Teammate Dylan Paprocki added 13 points off the bench.
"I just tried to be as aggressive as I could," Frazier said. "That's my game. Whenever you attack the basket, good things happen. You get a layup or a foul. Or if you draw defenders, it opens things up on the perimeter."
"That first half was definitely Brody's best half of basketball all season," Mike Toussaint added.
Burlington Central got a game-high 23 points from Patrick Mayfield.
Desjani Beamon (17 points), Zach Schutta (13) and William Hough (13) all scored in double-figures. Schutta broke the school's all-time scoring mark early in the game with his 1,524th career point.
The loss was Johnsburg's second of the season to B-C.
"They have so many weapons, but gameplanning against a team like theirs that's been state-ranked almost all year is a challenge we welcome," Mike Toussaint said. "We tried a box and one defense against Schutta hoping that would slow them down, then went man-to-man. It just kind of fell apart later in the game.
"There's a chance we could see them again down the line in the playoffs. I feel like we will be a dangerous team once the postseason begins. We just have to have more mental toughness and play complete games from start-to-finish."
STAR OF THE GAME
Brody Frazier, Johnsburg, sr., F
Frazier scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the first half, and aggressively and consistently attacked the basket. He also had six rebounds.
76.4: Burlington Central's shooting percentage in the third quarter, when it went 13 for 17 from the field and scored 28 points.
AND ANOTHER THING …
The Rockets clinched the Kishwaukee River Conference title outright with the victory.
Burlington Central 84, Johnsburg 68
Burlington Central 22 18 28 16 – 84
Johnsburg 23 15 11 19 – 68
Burlington Central (84): Mayfield 11 1-2 23, Beamon 8 0-1 17, Schutta 5 3-3 13, Hough 4 0-0 11, Kalusa 3 0-0 7, Johnson 1 2-2 4, Scott 1 2-2 4, Lenschow 1 0-0 2, Andersen 1 0-0 2, Moring 0 1-2 1. Totals: 35 9-13 84.
Johnsburg (68): Frazier 6 3-4 15, Toussaint 5 1-1 13, Paprocki 5 2-2 13, Sobiesk 4 0-0 9, Groves 2 1-1 5, Straulin 1 0-0 3, Stern 1 0-0 3, Muehlfelder 1 0-0 2, Benn 1 0-0 2, Hess 0 2-2 2, Rowe 0 1-2 1, Smith 0 0-2 0, Gutierrez 0 0-0 0, Shelton 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 10-14 55.
3-point field goals: Johnsburg 6 (Toussaint 2, Sobiesk, Paprocki, Straulin, Stern), Burlington Central 5 (Hough 3, Beamon, Kalusa).
Total team fouls: Burlington Central 15, Johnsburg 15.
Fouled out: Johnsburg: Sobiesk. Technical fouls: None.