Raiders ace big test against Johnsonburg

BROOKVILLE — Heading into Monday night's game, the Brookville Raiders knew they were facing one of the district's best basketball squads in the Johnsonburg Rams.

But the Raiders prevailed, putting up 11 points in overtime and holding the Rams to just four to earn the 64-55 victory.

"I thought it was a pretty fierce game, physical underneath, and you had two teams out there that didn't want to lose," Brookville head coach Bud Baughman said. "Fortunately, we had a few lucky breaks for us; that was the difference in the game."

Senior Austin Burney led the way for the Raiders with a season-high 20 points. He was 8-of-11 from the free throw line and hauled down seven rebounds to help his team's effort.

"He played up to expectations; Austin is an excellent player," Baughman said. "If you can get him motivated, he can really play, and that's what we need."

The Raiders once again had three players scoring in double-digits, with Tighe Truman tallying 13 and Zane Hackett adding 12.

Hackett's double-double streak was stretched to 10 games, as he brought down 11 rebounds Monday night.

Defense was showcased in the first quarter. The Raiders scored five unanswered points to open the game, and Johnsonburg was unable to find the basket until four-and-a-half minutes in. But the Rams bounced back from their early-game struggles, and the score was knotted at eight after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Raiders led by as many as six, but as time was running out in the half, Johnsonburg put up a three-pointer to bring the score to 23-20 Raiders.

The game was a heated one, even in the first half, and Baughman said he was not surprised by the physical nature of the match.

"Johnsonburg, in my mind, has if not the best guards, then as good as anyone," Baughman said. "They are tremendous with the ball."

The contest continued to be physical in the second half, but Brookville was able to ward off the Rams at the start of the third quarter.

Johnsonburg pulled within one on a successful foul shot, but then the Raiders went on a 6-1 scoring run to once again lead by six.

The Rams then had a scoring spree of their own, earning five unanswered, before eventually tying the game with 44 seconds left in the third.

The score remained tied at 37 until the fourth quarter, and Johnsonburg took its first lead since the second just 16 seconds into the final stanza.

The Rams eventually led by three — their biggest advantage of the game — before Johnsonburg's Mitch Holmberg was hit with a technical foul. Truman sunk one, and Brookville trailed by two with 1:15 remaining. But Burney hit a two-pointer with a minute remaining to tie the game at 51.

The Rams attempted to win the game by running down the clock and scoring a last-second shot, but they couldn't find an open man, and the game headed to overtime.

In overtime, the Raiders immediately went on a scoring spree and led 54-51 with just more than two minutes to go.

As time was ticking down, Burney went up for a layup, and Johnsonburg committed an intentional foul, sending Burney to the line once again. He sunk both shots, and Sebastian Kerr followed immediately behind with a basket, giving the Raiders a 58-51 lead.

Shortly after that, Burney fouled out of the game, and the crowd erupted in cheers of "Burney! Burney!" The Rams attempted to get back into the game by fouling the Raiders, but it was over.

With Kerr hitting four successful free throws in overtime, the Raiders had won, 64-55.

"I thought our kids battled extremely hard (Monday night)," Baughman said. "We battled as hard as they did, and we've been preaching that to our crew, and it's starting to sink in. You have to work hard every time you step on the court; it was a great game."

The Raiders don't have much time to rest, though, as they travel to Ridgway Wednesday to take on an undefeated squad.

"We know what to expect up there; it'll be every bit as fierce up there, perhaps harder," Baughman said. "We have to get our legs rested and come ready to play."