After Johnsburg’s second loss of the season to Burlington Central a few weeks ago, Skyhawks coach Mike Toussaint noted that there was a chance his team could face the Rockets again in the postseason.
He added, “I feel like we will be a dangerous team once the postseason begins.”
Both predictions appear to be true.
Johnsburg (19-12) will take on Burlington Central (27-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 3A Woodstock North Sectional semifinals. Burlington Central has won 24 of its past 25 games dating to Dec. 6.
Johnsburg is fresh off its first regional title since 2012 after a 64-52 win over Richmond-Burton on Friday in the Class 3A Marengo Regional.
The Skyhawks have won 10 of their past 13 games, with two of those losses coming to Burlington Central.
“The two times we’ve played them, we’ve played them tough for three quarters,” Toussaint said. “We’ve just got to put that fourth quarter together.”
In the most recent loss to the Rockets on Feb. 16, Johnsburg trailed by two at halftime before Burlington Central scored 28 points in the third quarter to break the game open. The Rockets won that game, 84-68, and previously defeated Johnsburg, 74-48, on Jan 23.
Senior captain Mason Sobiesk felt like the Skyhawks played well against Burlington Central in spurts.
“We’ve talked all year, those are two of our conference losses, and we’ve said it both of those times: ‘We’ve played with them for two or three quarters,’” Sobiesk said. “We just need it to be a complete game.”
The Kishwaukee River Conference champions won their first regional title since 2008 with an 89-78 win over Montini on Friday in the Aurora Central Catholic Regional. The winner between Johnsburg and Burlington Central will advance to Friday’s sectional championship to face the winner of Wednesday’s sectional semifinal between Boylan and St. Francis.
In the last Johnsburg-Burlington matchup, the Rockets moved up and down the court quickly, scoring in transition. Four Rockets scored in double figures in that game. Burlington Central senior Zach Schutta holds the school’s career scoring record.
“They’re good all around,” Toussaint said. “They play solid, tough defense. They’re solid all around, top to bottom. We’ve just got to worry about us, and we’ll watch a lot of film and come up with a game plan.”
Johnsburg last won a sectional title during the 2002-03 season, when the Skyhawks reached the Class AA state quarterfinals. They last reached a sectional championship game in 2010.
This is Johnsburg’s second regional title in Toussaint’s seven seasons as boys coach. He previously led the Skyhawks girls basketball team to seven straight regional titles from 2005 to 2011.
Point guard Zach Toussaint leads the Skyhawks with 22.8 points par game and 5.3 assists a game. Sobiesk is averaging 12.2 points a game and leads the team with 5.5 rebounds a game.
Sobiesk is excited for another shot at Burlington Central.
“With the way we’re hitting our stride right now, playing defense, there’s no better time to play them,” Sobiesk said. “We’ll definitely be ready.”