Burlington High boys basketball tops Canton, advances

A 9-0 run early in the second quarter put the Burlington High boys basketball team ahead to stay on Friday as the Red Devils advanced to a Round of 16 game on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Sharon after a 62-50 win over Canton.

“Awesome,” said BHS coach Phil Conners after the victory. “That was the first time we’ve put together four quarters.”

BHS never trailed, but led only 22-18 before the nine-point spurt pushed the lead to 13 (31-18) with 5:50 left in the first half.

The Devils led 33-21 at halftime and led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs cut the deficit to eight in the fourth quarter, but never got any closer.

Junior Cedric Rodriguez led BHS with 22 points and was one of four Devils in double figures.

Seniors Ben Poehler and Eric Sekyaya added 12 points apiece and junior Jaden Brehm scored 11 points including a big 3-pointer in the closing moments to put the game away.

After Canton senior Caden Mirliani drained a long 3-pointer to make it 22-18, Rodriguez answered on Burlington’s next trip down the floor with a three of his own, prompting the Canton coach Eric MacKinnon to call a timeout.

After the break, Bulldog senior Ashton Cetoute missed two free throws and Sekyaya used a terrific move to get the hoop for an open layup to make it 27-18. Poehler’s defense forced a traveling violation by Mirliani, setting Sekyaya up for another slashing move to the basket for two points and an 11-point BHS advantage. Junior James Ellis then set up a bucket by Rodriguez with a nice assist that forced another Bulldog timeout.

The Red Devils hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter, two each by Poehler and Brehm and another by Rodriguez, and led 52-38 after three quarters.

In the final stanza, Canton made one final push in the opening minutes, cutting the lead to eight (55-47) when Mirliani swished another three and junior Jamaal McConnell converted a layup, but that would be the last Bulldog basket until a 3-pointer by junior Zara Francoeur in the closing seconds with BHS leading by 15. 

The Red Devils scored seven straight points down the stretch, a layup by Poehler, a killer three by Brehm and two foul shots by Poehler,

Burlington scored 20 points in the first quarter, hitting three 3-pointers. Rodriguez had 10 points in the opening eight minutes and Sekyaya had five.

“We came out great offensively,” Conners said. “I think we did a good job defensively, every guy. That was complete.”