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Basketball

High school boys basketball: Johnsburg falls to Burlington Central at Class 3A Marengo Sectional

MARENGO – Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint saw the 16-point deficit and considered pulling the area’s most prolific scorer ever, along with the other seniors with a couple of minutes remaining as a final farewell.

But Zach Toussaint hit a 3-pointer, then the Skyhawks forced a turnover, and Jonny Preston drilled another 3. Then Toussaint scored in the lane and launched a 3 from behind the volleyball line, hacking Burlington Central’s lead to seven.

Offense, as it had been for most of the game, was not Johnsburg’s problem. Stopping Burlington Central was.

The Rockets hit their last 15 free throws, six in the final minute, to cap their 77-67 victory over Johnsburg on Tuesday in a Class 3A Marengo Sectional semifinal. Burlington (26-8) advanced to Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game against the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Woodstock North (17-14) and Glenbard South (23-6). 

“It was desperate times. We were just chucking up shots, and they found a way to go in,” Zach Toussaint said. “Burlington started off hot and pretty much stayed hot the entire game.”

Johnsburg (20-13) slowed down Rockets star Patrick Mayfield, who averages 26.6 points a game, limiting him to 12 points. But Mayfield was happy to facilitate for his friends, as Braden Seyller scored 22 points, and forward Josh Hudgens had a career night with 22.

Also, the Rockets pounded Johnsburg in rebounding, 35-18.

“We got beat up [on the boards],” Mike Toussaint said. “Rebounding was one of our top keys, we didn’t rebound well.”

Toussaint, the area’s all-time scoring leader with 2,249 points, poured in 33 points with six 3s. Preston had a season-best 28 points, also with six 3s.

“It was great, but it wasn’t the result we wanted. It’s bittersweet,” Preston said. “I have to give credit to Burlington. Their role players really stepped up and played a big game. Their players hit shots. It just wasn’t our night.”

Mayfield is used to defenses keying on him. Johnsburg’s 2-3 zone gave him plenty of attention but opened things for others.

“Every team has been double-teaming me,” Mayfield said. “I kind of exposed that defense today because my teammates stepped up. I found my teammates, and they finished. You know they’re going to be open.”

Burlington split with Johnsburg during the regular season, winning the second game, which swung the Kishwaukee River Conference to the Rockets.

“Early on we had some specific counters to their 2-3 zone we felt we could exploit,” Burlington coach Brett Porto said. “We did a really nice job making the correct pass and the extra pass.”

Johnsburg cut its deficit – once at 15 points – to 43-40 late in the third quarter. The Rockets led, 69-53, with 2:10 remaining, but the Skyhawks cut it to 73-67 with 38 seconds to go.

“I thought I’d give them a curtain call, and we actually had a shot,” Mike Toussaint said. “Our mantra all year has been ‘All grit, no quit.’ They went out with a lot of grit.”

STAR OF THE GAME

Jonny Preston

Johnsburg, sr., G

Preston scored a season-high 28 points, hitting 11 of 14 field goals and 6 of 8 3-pointers. He hit three 3s in the fourth quarter as the Skyhawks tried to battle from behind.

THE NUMBER

2,249: Zach Toussaint’s career scoring total, the most in area history for a boys player.

AND ANOTHER THING ...

Burlington Central was 18 of 21 on free throws for the game, including its last 15 in a row, all in the fourth quarter.

Class 3A Marengo Sectional

Burlington Central 77, Johnsburg 67

BURLINGTON CENTRAL (77): Mayfield 4 4-4 12, B. Seyller 7 4-4 22, Lenschow 6 4-4 16, Hudgens 8 6-8 22, Schmidt 1 0-0 3, Andersen 0 0-0 0, Moring 1 0-0 2, C. Seyller 0 0-0 0, Wells 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 18-21 77.

JOHNSBURG (67): Toussaint 11 5-5 33, Preston 11 0-0 28, Groves 1 2-2 4, Comstock 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 2-2 2, Gutierrez 0 0-0 0, Notriano 0 0-0 0, Straulin 0 0-2 0, Muehlfelder 0 2-2 2. Totals: 23 9-11 67.

Burlington Central 19 16 11 31 – 77

Johnsburg 18 7 15 27 – 67

3-point goals: Burlington Central 5 (B. Seyller 4, Schmidt), Johnsburg 12 (Toussaint 6, Preston 6). Total fouls: Burlington Central 12, Johnsburg 18.

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