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Article updated: 2/14/2013 10:59 PM

Burlington Central clinches share of BN-East

By Jerry Fitzpatrick

Burlington Central sapped all the suspense from its division-clinching boys basketball victory over North Boone on Rocket Hill Thursday night.

Central celebrated Senior Night and clinched a share of its first Big Northern Conference East Division title since 2007-08 with a 65-30 trouncing of the Vikings.

All eight seniors and 15 of the 16 players on Central's roster scored. The Rockets (12-13, 10-1) bolted to a 27-3 lead after a quarter and were never threatened by North Boone (5-19, 2-9), which committed 14 turnovers before Burlington Central committed its first.

"It feels good that we got that W and guaranteed conference," said senior Moter Deng, who scored 5 points. "It's a good win. Our record doesn't show that we're a winning team, but this gives us a boost heading into the regional."

This Senior Night celebration was far more enjoyable for the Rockets than last year's version. Last February, they lost to Richmond-Burton in a showdown for the BNC East title. Afterward, Central players had to watch as R-B took celebratory postgame pictures on its home court.

Central hopes to return the favor when it travels to second-place Richmond-Burton next Friday for the regular-season finale. A victory would seal the BNC East title outright.

"It was nice to wrap it up here, but I think this team still has unfinished business," Central coach Brett Porto said. "(R-B) took it to us on our Senior Night last year for the conference championship. Yeah, we've got (a share of the title), but I think these guys are hungry to go up there and finish it."

"That's why we're not taking a picture now," senior Dan McCurdy said. "We want to do it at their place because that's what they did to us last year."

McCurdy helped the Rockets get off to a fast start. He followed senior Charles Horton's 3-pointer with a pair of baskets and a steal, which Central converted into a Ryan Ritchie baseline jump shot.

The Rockets extended their early blitz to 16-0 with 3 Bryce Warner free throws and consecutive buckets from junior Reed Hunnicutt.

"We wanted to get as many people to score in the beginning as possible because we usually start strong," McCurdy said. "Then we figured we'd get it going from there."

Central narrowly won the rebounding battle (27-23) but a 23-4 turnover advantage was the determining factor. Multiple Central steals allowed for multiple fast-break baskets, which translated to a first-half shooting percentage of 52.8 (19 of 36).

"It's a great feeling because we work hard for this every single day at practice," said senior Zach Barry who finished with 7 points and 6 rebounds. "I'm glad we finished it like this. This was a great Senior Night for us."

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