BELOIT—Burlington had just sunk four-straight free throws to take a 67-63 lead over the Beloit Memorial boys basketball team with 37 seconds left in overtime.
The energy had been sucked out of Barkin Arena and momentum was firmly on the Demons’ side.
But a game that looked like it might be slipping away from the Purple Knights instead turned into an impressive 71-67 win over Burlington on Monday night at Barkin Arena.
The Demons (14-3) came into the game sitting in a tie for first place in the Southern Lakes Conference and regarded as one of the best teams in the state.
“We knew going in that Burlington would be an incredible challenge,” head coach Todd Marks said. “Our guys just showed tremendous resolve and grit. They showed their toughness and found a way to win.”
Things looked bleak for Beloit (4-12) with little time left, but after the free throw, senior Fazion Farr went coast-to-coast, spun between two Burlington defenders and hit a layup, drawing a foul in the process.
“My teammates did a good job of spacing the court,” Farr said. “That’s exactly how coach drew it up and it worked. I’m happy he drew it up like that”.
Farr hit the free throw, but the Knights were forced to foul with time running out and trailing by one.
Burlington missed the free throw, and senior Tyrone Karl was then fouled after grabbing the rebound.
Karl hit both shots from the stripe, and then he and Farr teamed up to force a turnover as Burlington was in transition.
Karl hit three more free throws down the stretch to keep Beloit in front for good.
“Fazion was so clutch,” Marks said. “We’re basically running some ball-screen action for him to just go make a play. And that’s what he did. And then Tyrone just showed some incredible toughness to go get a loose ball. Our defensive effort to keep them away from the basket at the end was really good too.”
Making the win even more impressive? Leading-scorer Rico Yarbrough had fouled out early in overtime. The senior had put up a team-high 27 points at that point, his sixth-straight game scoring 26 or more points.
“Rico fouling out was a big thing for us,” Farr said. “But we knew we had to come with it. I feel like everyone stepped up when they needed to.”
While Yarbrough was solid as always, the Knights used a slew of players offensively while playing strong defensively to come out of the gates hot and take a 31-20 lead into halftime.
“Defensively, it was one of our better halves of the season,” Marks said. “We matched their physicality, they had a lot of length which we see every night. We were moving the ball, we were attacking the basket, we were sharing the ball, doing things that we try to work on every day in practice.”
The Demons adjusted out of halftime, taking a 40-39 lead before Yarbrough had 12 points in an 18-7 run to give the Knights a 58-46 lead.
Burlington sank some key treys before hitting a layup late to come back and send the game to overtime at a 61-all tie.
“We had a couple of mistakes and a couple of turnovers,” Marks said. “They had all the momentum going into overtime. It would have been easy for our kids to fold, but they just continued to battle.”
Marks downplayed the significance of the win over the SLC leaders, a conference the Knights will be leaving the Big Eight for next season.
“This year we’re just focused on right now,” he said. “Every year is a different entity.”
BELOIT 71, BURLINGTON 67
Burlington…............20 41 6—67
Beloit Memorial……….31 30 10—71
BURLINGTON (fg ft-fta pts)—Roffers 5 3-4 15, Teberg 0 2-2 2, Lukenbill 12 8-9 33, Lang 3 0-0 9, Skiles 2 2-3 6, Salik 0 2-6 2. Totals: 22 17-24 67.
BM (fg ft-fta pts)—Yarbrough 11 3-4 27, Woods 3 0-0 7, Cousins 3 2-3 8, Farr 3 5-6 10, Hereford 4 0-0 8, Karl 0 5-6 5, Clark 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 15-19 70.
3-pt. Goals: Burlington 6 (Lang 3, Roffers 2, Lukenbill), BM 3 (Yarbrough 2, Woods). Fouled out: Yarbrough, Roffers. Total Fouls: Burlington 15, BM 19.