It took some wild twist and turns for Burlington Central to finally wind up with a 51-50 non-conference win over Rock Falls in its home opener Friday night. The Rockets (4-1) had to overcome the loss of starting point guard Brett Rau to a hip flexor injury in the first minute of the game, then were without 6-foot-9 center Duncan Ozburn most of the second half because of foul trouble and also squandered 11-point leads twice in the second half before eking out the win.
After Rock Falls (3-2) had battled back from a 45-34 deficit early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 47-47 on a three-pointer with 2:20 left to play, Central’s Nathan Moxness was fouled jockeying for position under the basket. Moxness hit a pair of free throws on the other end to give the Rockets the lead for good. Reed Hunnicutt and Sean Fitzgerald each hit free throws down the stretch to help secure the win.
Hunnicutt stepped up to lead the Rockets with 18 points. James Raney added 11 points, including three clutch three-pointers.
BY THE NUMBERS
Connor Cain and Austin Donoho each had 13 points to lead Rock Falls.
“Brett is an outstanding point guard and to lose him right at the start was a big blow, but Luke McCurdy stepped in and did a great job. Then Hunnicutt and Raney picked it up when Duncan went out. We had guys like Nathan Moxness who hit some big free throws for us down the stretch. The guys never folded.” — Brett Porto, Burlington Central coach