The Franklin boys basketball team came to Burlington hoping for an upset in the Division 1 regional finall, but the Demons, energized by two three-point baskets from Carson Biedrzycki on either side of halftime, came out with a 56-48 victory.
The Demons had taken a 27-22 lead shortly before halftime when Franklin’s Danny Kingstad scored a layup to cut Burlington’s lead to just three. It looked as though the half would expire before Burlington could get a last second shot off, but the ball went out of bounds off of a Saber player with 0.9 seconds left. Burlington inbounded the ball to Biedrzycki, who got his shot off just as the buzzer sounded. The ball hit nothing but net, giving the Demons a 30-24 halftime lead.
“The (three-pointer) going into halftime was huge,” said Burlington coach Steve Berezowitz. “Not only did it extend it to a two possession game but it also gave us a six point lead. It gives you a little wiggle room, and with a team like this, you need that."
“It gave us some momentum going into halftime," added Biedrzycki. "Coming out, I wanted to keep us strong in the second half.”
That is exactly what he did. Shortly after the restart, he once again found himself with the ball just beyond the three point arc. He took the shot and nailed it to give his team a nine-point lead and keep the momentum in Burlington’s favor.
After going down by nine again to start the fourth quarter, Franklin scored 11 unanswered points from Colin Ksobiech, Brett Ksobiech, and Chad Kanugh to briefly take the lead with under five minutes to go.
“They had some momentum heading into halftime when they hit that three,” said Franklin coach Tim Hogan, “but we came back out in the second half and even after being down nine points, we showed a lot of resilience and a lot of savvy as far as getting back into the game.”
The game remained close until Burlington grabbed a 52-48 lead with under two minutes to play and Franklin had to start fouling to regain possession. The Sabers couldn’t find the basket and time ran out.
“They gave it a very good effort, and that’s all we can ask for,” said Hogan.
Franklin led 15-12 after the first quarter.
“We got off to a fast start, but on the offensive end we were rushing some possessions, taking shots after only one or two passes, and not really making the defense work very much," Hogan said.
Burlington also seemed to have issues finding the basket early.
“The first time we played them it was the same thing, we just couldn’t get going,” said Berezowitz. “We missed a number of shots from two or three feet that really put us in a bad spot.”
The momentum started to shift in the second quarter, with Burlington sinking most of its shots and the Sabers starting to miss theirs. Biedrzycki’s three-pointer to close out the half ensured that the momentum was with the Demons heading into the locker room.
“They’re very disciplined and they run their offense very well,” said Hogan. “They play hard defense. They didn’t win their conference for nothing.”
Burlington’s Eric Gerber scored a game high 18 points, while Brett Ksobiech scored 17 to lead the Sabers.
The Sabers finish their season with an 11-13 overall record while the Demons improve to 17-7 and move on to the sectional semifinal at Kenosha Tremper on Thursday.
“We’re taking it one game at a time,” said Berezowitz. “We’ll see what happens.”
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