Rockets fall short of sharing conference title
By Todd Rohde~CORRESPONDENT
The Richmond-Burton boys’ basketball team may not have been the most successful team in the area when it came to all-around overall performances this season.
But when it involved taking to the court against conference opponents, the Rockets found a way to step up their play and come away with victories for their efforts.
With the above being said, that’s why the Rockets still had a chance to secure a share of the league title when they squared off against Burlington-Central in the regular-season finale Feb. 22. But unfortunately B-C had other plans in mind by deciding that they wanted the title all to their own, and by the time that it was all said and done they had gotten their way by reigning on the Rockets parade.
B-C got off to a productive start and never let up, as they handed the Rockets a 60-42 Big Northern Conference East Division defeat at Richmond. By doing so it allowed B-C to land the conference title and improve to 13-13 overall and 11-1 in league play, while the Rockets dropped to 12-15 and 9-3 in settling for the respectable runner-up finish after winning it last year.
Both teams were very familiar with what the other had to offer for their strengths, as this was the second matchup between the two programs in as many weeks. The big difference in the contest proved to be B-C’s ability to consistently put points on the board in the first half, while the Rockets struggled to find any type of rhythm on offense.
In fact B-C converted on over 50 percent of their shots from the field over the first 16 minutes of play, while the Rockets made good on just four of their 26 attempts during the same stretch. This allowed B-C to jump out to a comfortable 22-6 lead after a quarter of play, before they used an 8-0 run in the second quarter to up their advantage to 34-13 at the half thanks to 12 points from Duncan Ozburn.
Another key in the game was that B-C limited the times that they turned the ball over, while on the same note turning the Rockets miscues into easy points in the paint on the other side.
The Rockets tried to make some adjustments at the half to claw their way back into in the second half, but B-C refused to let them chip away.
Despite putting forth a valiant effort, Richmond never was able to slice the deficit to less than double figures in the second half. B-C’s height advantage gave the Rockets fits, as they blocked numerous shot attempts as well as had over 20 more rebounds in the game including many of which came on the offensive side.
The Rockets were led by the play of Nick Pittser coming up with a team high 11 points, all of which came in the final quarter of play as Chris Vlasak (19 points in the first meeting) added five more. Richmond had a hard time containing the likes of B-C’s Ozburn scoring 16 points and pulling down nine boards, as Moter Deng contributed 13 points and nine rebounds.
B-C being able to win the conference title on R-B’s court this season was kind of par for the course, since the Rockets accomplished the same feat at their place last year.