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Burlington Central made the most of a second opportunity that doesn't come along very often. Trailing by two points on Saturday, the Rockets' Reed Hunnicutt was fouled at the final buzzer of regulation attempting a desperation three-pointer from 30 feet away. After a timeout and a long delay as the referees sorted out the chaos that ensued, Hunnicutt made the first and final free throw attempts to force overtime. Central went on to knock off the Genoa-Kingston 66-63, all but ending the Cogs chances at a Big Northern East title.
"It seemed like I was waiting at the line forever," said Hunnicutt. "I was so nervous. I just wanted to get it over. I did my best to block out the crowd noise and stay focused. We haven't done very well in close games, so this was a big win for us."
The game was tied 63-63 in overtime when the Rocket's Ryan Ritchie stole the ball at midcourt and scored on a baseline drive at the other end for the go-ahead basket with 23 seconds left on the clock. Genoa could not score on its final two possessions as Central held on for the win.
The Rockets (8-13) had to rally from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Brett Rau scored six of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. The Rockets have now won two in a row.
"I am just proud of the way we kept battling," said Central coach Brett Porto. "For us to be able to keep coming back and for Reed Hunnicutt to be able to step to the line and make two free throws in that situation is really awesome. Hopefully this is the type of win that will give us the confidence to get on a winning streak."
Genoa-Kingston (14-8, 5-3) led 56-54 with 58 seconds left in regulation after Adam Price scored on a transition layup. The Cogs had two chances to seal the win at the free throw line but missed the front ends of one-and-ones, including one with four seconds left that led to the Hunnicutt free throws that tied the game.
"I feel like we had one stolen away from us," said Genoa coach Corey Jenkins. "The bottom line is the calls at the end cost us. But you have to give credit to Hunnicutt for stepping up and making those free throws when given the chance."
The loss spoiled an outstanding performance by freshman Tommy Lucas, who had a game-high 27 points. The Cogs are now two games behind Richmond-Burton in the conference standings.
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